Archived Opinion

Marquees made me leave Maggie Valley

Marquees made me leave Maggie Valley

To the Editor:

I have never done this in my 59 years, but I can’t rest until I voice my displeasure and disappointment in what happened to me in Maggie Valley.

Father’s Day was coming and my 82-year-old dad had just one wish, and that was to get all his kids and grandkids together again and take a trip up to Maggie Valley. My father has been taking us there for years and the memories of my youth are filled with gunfights, Cherokees and mountains, courtesy of what I thought was a magical place.

Let me say also that me and my family are Black. Me and my wife drove to Maggie Valley to secure rooms for the weekend. We drove back to South Carolina that same day without a single room.

When I arrived in Maggie Valley, I felt I was back in the segregated South of my youth. Back the Blue signs and flags were on almost all the motel marquees, and I refuse to stay at a hotel where I’m not welcome. What disappointed me the most was that a national chain like Clarion was also participating in this act of racism. It was also on Clarion’s giant marquee. 

Back the Blue was created as a direct challenge to the Black Lives Matter movement, so yes, I get the message. The message is I’m not welcome at most of the hotels and restaurants in Maggie Valley and I’m not welcome at the Clarion Hotel.

Michael Qualls

Florence, S.C.

Leave a comment

67 comments

  • The “Back the Blue” marquees have been displayed for over a month now, and residents and visitors have gotten the message loud and clear.

    posted by C Gibson

    Saturday, 06/26/2021

  • I'm sorry you feel that but you only seen part of the story. There was another "hotel" that had signs up that read ACAB. "All cops are bastards", So in the police officers defense, these signs were put up. It has NOTHING to do with BLM, Although ALL lives matter!

    posted by Patricia Harmon

    Saturday, 06/26/2021

  • I'm sorry you feel that but you only seen part of the story. There was another "hotel" that had signs up that read ACAB. "All cops are bastards", So in the police officers defense, these signs were put up. It has NOTHING to do with BLM, Although ALL lives matter!

    posted by Patricia Harmon

    Saturday, 06/26/2021

  • How very interesting you feel "threatened" by our community acknowledging that we support our Law Enforcement Offers. I'm thrilled beyond belief you found a safe place elsewhere. When you grow up maybe you will come back.

    posted by Chad Knight

    Saturday, 06/26/2021

  • How very interesting you feel "threatened" by our community acknowledging that we support our Law Enforcement Offers. I'm thrilled beyond belief you found a safe place elsewhere. When you grow up maybe you will come back.

    posted by Chad Knight

    Saturday, 06/26/2021

  • Back The Blue was designed to show support for law enforcement. Get over it. Maggie Valley is better off without your money.

    posted by J

    Saturday, 06/26/2021

  • If you are that inconsiderate of other lives making a difference and especially blue lives matter because they put their lives on the line every day. Their families have to worry every time they go to work because they might not return because they are protecting all of us no matter what race you are maybe you should stay in S.C !!

    posted by Clair Rogers

    Saturday, 06/26/2021

  • If you are that inconsiderate of other lives making a difference and especially blue lives matter because they put their lives on the line every day. Their families have to worry every time they go to work because they might not return because they are protecting all of us no matter what race you are maybe you should stay in S.C !!

    posted by Clair Rogers

    Saturday, 06/26/2021

  • oh, such ignorant people here in the comments. Sorry for the original writer of the letter. We all know BtB came about in response to BLM. Because blacks can not have something about them just for them (even though they are being killed in scary numbers) without whites coming out en masses to try and make it about them.

    posted by Kimberly Young

    Saturday, 06/26/2021

  • This has nothing to do with black people, does he know why this is all over the valley?

    posted by M Bradley

    Saturday, 06/26/2021

  • This has nothing to do with black people, does he know why this is all over the valley?

    posted by M Bradley

    Saturday, 06/26/2021

  • I f you don’t support our police you don’t belong there

    posted by Readynerd

    Saturday, 06/26/2021

  • The writer states that his family has been coming to Maggie for years. I’m sure that they have been welcomed in the past and would have been again if they had bothered to ask for a room. I don’t consider Back the Blue to be racist. Did it occur to him that some police officers are black? Is he opposed to them too? Maggie Valley is still a magical place if you give it a chance.

    posted by Vicki Cole

    Friday, 06/25/2021

  • I call on the Smoky Mountain News and the Mountaineer to begin research and shining the light of day on racism in our communities. Don't rely on persons outside of our communities to comment. Do your job and report on how races are treated differently in hiring, housing and arrests.

    posted by Ron Robinson

    Friday, 06/25/2021

  • I am white but I have been friends with people of color and would welçome people of color to .my house anytime.
    However, I support our men and women in blue, and I support the fact that all lives matter, no matter the color.
    Do we have some bad apples among our police departments, yes, just like any group, we find some bad apples. That is no reason to punish the whole of police.

    posted by Orv nicely

    Friday, 06/25/2021

  • A Question to the Author of the Article...
    What if you saw a bunch of Signs that said "White Lives Matter"??? I really would like to hear your answer!!

    Because, this is My Opinion, and just about everyone else that I know...

    ANYONE,, who replaces the "ALL" in (All Lives Matter), "WITH A RACE" is simply Race Baiting and creating Racial Divide, and Creating Racism where there most likely was none...

    If you say "Black Lives Matter" and you are correct in your mind,,, then,,,, why is it wrong for others to say "Another Color be it "Blue/White/Brown/Red" Lives Matter, or Back the Blue"...

    It all starts somewhere... HERE IS A HINT!!
    Does a Racist talk about Racism all of the time?? YES!!
    Does someone not Racist talk Racism all of the time??? NO!!

    Answer both questions and the problem should become very clear...
    Most of us do not care what color anyone is, but, will surely comment when someone makes a point like you just made without looking at both sides of the coin...

    Tell me again who wants to "Defund the Cops"?? And, then again,, Who wants to "Support the Cops" = Blue line, Blue Lives Matter, etc..
    Do you want to know what this Country would be like with Zero Law Enforcement?? REALLY!!!!
    It's a LEGIT Question... Because, you may not have considered this,, but,,, the side wanting to Support the Cops and Second Amendment is going to be on the Opposite side of the Fence from you, and we all know what Second Amendment supporters hold dear to themselves... It is surely something NO ONE wants to ever see happen, and I think you should be able to tell what the outcome of that would be...

    So, It really escapes me as to why you feel Black Lives Matter, but, White Lives do not.. OR, if you see a White Lives Matter sign, you are not affected in the same manner that a Black Lives Matter sign affects you.. I mean, it is only the Changing of One Word!! What is wrong with "ALL" Lives Matter?? Did we not include all colors in that statement,, Black included?? Anything less than All Lives Matter is simply Racist, and if you don't agree,,, I can't explain it to you any clearer to help you understand it. It's a moot point..
    What you are seeing is Each Party/Group/Affiliation defending It's Own Views..

    BUT,, WHO STARTED IT???? Go to the Source and you will find the Problem.. Was it Blacks?? NO.. It was the Democrat Party and the Deep State... Did Antifa and BLM not attack and Focus their Destruction in the only areas where they could?? Democrat led Cities and States?? I rest my case!!

    posted by Mark Thomas

    Friday, 06/25/2021

  • Back the blue is simply supporting our police officers. You know, the ones who protect you???? You are the ones making it racial!

    posted by Robin Royal

    Friday, 06/25/2021

  • Don’t be so petty. Put the past aside and rent a room somewhere else. Most Americans don’t care what color you are. One thing for sure we need peace in this country. We deal with the way America is and you should also. Life goes by fast get over it.

    posted by Terrie

    Friday, 06/25/2021

  • This is confusing and kind of sad. I have marched with BLM and with BtB alongside my Black, Brown, and White brothers and sisters, and have never seen any indication that BtB is an anti-Black or anti-BLM movement. BtB is a way, in these admittedly divisive and tumultuous times, to support our law enforcement officers. It has nothing to do with color, race, ethnicity, etc. The only hate filled and divisive sign I see is the ACAB sign on that one hotel. It's sad that this family missed out on a fun and adventurous weekend in our beautiful Little Corner of Heaven.

    posted by Bob Cummings

    Friday, 06/25/2021

  • I’m sorry that this happened to you and your family. MAGA Valley is allowing this situation to identify it. As a white woman in the area, it is embarrassing and frightening. Unfortunately for each of us who choose to stay, eat and play elsewhere, there are 2 or 3 who accept that racism is their chosen path.

    posted by M Bernt

    Friday, 06/25/2021

  • The insensitivity and disingenuousness of so many of these comments only validates the writer's concerns. Put yourself in others' shoes and try to understand their fears. What if you saw signs everywhere supporting a group that included some notorious members who recently became known for killing a lot of people of your race? Back the Blue is not some innocent acknowledgement of the police and their value to the community, but for many people I know it represents opposition to Black Lives Matter. It was certainly a reaction to police killings of black people, which has reached epidemic levels. It didn't exist until AFTER George Floyd's murder and the overwhelming public response demanding that police be held more accountable. Just look at the two hateful rallies in Maggie last year to harass the marchers in support of Black Lives Matter. Confederate flags and swastikas were held up by the same people claiming to Back the Blue. Most people support the police but they also want serious reform. I've yet to find a Back the Blue supporter who is calling for that.

    posted by Grant

    Friday, 06/25/2021

  • I'm so sorry for your experience. Sadly, and you would not have any reason to know this, the Back the Blue signs were not directed as a segregationist statement but against one hotel that chose to post a sign that was very derogatory against policemen and other law enforcement. I AM very proud of you for stating your cause - and you are correct - interpretation on these signs can give several meanings. I learned from you today - I didn't know the the history or at least interpretation of Back the Blue.

    posted by Ray

    Friday, 06/25/2021

  • Back the Blue began when liberals started yelling “defund the police”. You have been told that it comes against black people but nothing could be further from the truth. I see flags and signs that support law enforcement all over the place. I also see BLACK LIVES MATTER signage. Just bc you see the flags and signs which reflect positivity toward law enforcement does not mean you are unwelcome to that residence or establishment!

    posted by T A Morris

    Friday, 06/25/2021

  • I thought back the blue was supposed to be
    In favor for our law enforcement,

    posted by Margaret chane

    Thursday, 06/24/2021

  • Most of the hotels in Maggie Valley are foreign owned, soooo.....maybe insecurity is the issue

    posted by JH

    Thursday, 06/24/2021

  • He needs to accept back the blue for PROTECTION and it is NOTHING to do with RACISM

    posted by Ken Bryant

    Thursday, 06/24/2021

  • I have never heard of such. I am sad you felt that way. I have always backed the blue, and also known there are bad people who are policemen….which I deplore! I also support BLM but realize there are bad people also in BLM….which I too, deplore. In my mind, the backing of the blue was going on long before BLM came into existence. I think it is far more a “mind-set” than anyone throwing off on either or. We want good people in every thing we do, and in every organization. I am 76 years old, have been to a BLM rally….and met good and evil people there. I know cops who are good, some power hungry, some mean. I think we can agree we want good people working in our world, period. I doubt very much those folks in Maggie Valley or at the Clarion we’re thinking they were doing anything wrong other than supporting their police forces. It is a sensitive topic, for sure, but I cannot help but wonder if your sensitivity has not taken this a bit, a lot, too far. That is just not who those folks are in Maggie Valley or the Clarion.??❤️

    posted by Betty Cole

    Thursday, 06/24/2021

  • I think you may be misreading the message here. I back the cops because I may need them is all kinds of situations and I want them to be available to help me, my family, you and your family. My father was a law enforcement office long ago and he was not a racist. I worked with police officers and never knew any of them to be racist. I am sure there are racist cops……but most are not.
    I struggle with BLM because I see the black lives lost routinely in Chicago and other big cities and can’t see the those black lives are of any interest at all to BLM. I am a person who looks at what people do as opposed to what they say.

    posted by Peg

    Thursday, 06/24/2021

  • I see nothing wrong with Back The Blue. Our police need our support!!! Maybe the problem
    wasn’t the signs but that you yourself have changed.
    Sometimes they hold conventions in these towns so maybe that was why all the signs were there. But I don’t understand why you rode up to get rooms instead of reserving on the internet as you say you have gone there very often. You should know which hotel you prefer. So I am thinking maybe there was more to this trip to get rooms than you are saying. Maybe you just wanted something to gripe about. You did make an issue of your color!!

    posted by Dianne

    Thursday, 06/24/2021

  • Why does “Back the Blue” mean “Don’t Support All Lives Matter” any more than “Black Lives Matter” says “Our Race Is the Most Important?” You can’t have it both ways. “Back the Blue” was created to stop the incredible racism the BLM movement has caused.

    posted by Carl Albright

    Thursday, 06/24/2021

Smokey Mountain News Logo
SUPPORT THE SMOKY MOUNTAIN NEWS AND
INDEPENDENT, AWARD-WINNING JOURNALISM
Go to top
Payment Information

/

At our inception 20 years ago, we chose to be different. Unlike other news organizations, we made the decision to provide in-depth, regional reporting free to anyone who wanted access to it. We don’t plan to change that model. Support from our readers will help us maintain and strengthen the editorial independence that is crucial to our mission to help make Western North Carolina a better place to call home. If you are able, please support The Smoky Mountain News.

The Smoky Mountain News is a wholly private corporation. Reader contributions support the journalistic mission of SMN to remain independent. Your support of SMN does not constitute a charitable donation. If you have a question about contributing to SMN, please contact us.