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

  • I don’t understand, Back the Blue is racist? Last time I looked there were Black police officers male and female!

    posted by Cliff

    Thursday, 06/24/2021

  • How is support for our police “racism”. There are many black law enforcement officers, so are they racist also?

    posted by Joy shepler

    Thursday, 06/24/2021

  • How is support for our police “racism”. There are many black law enforcement officers, so are they racist also?

    posted by Joy shepler

    Thursday, 06/24/2021

  • Mr Qualls,

    I'm so sorry for the experiences you had in Maggie. When businesses in the rest of the country behave with ignorance you can hit them in the wallet. But these days, Maggie has chosen a side and would rather see their businesses shuttered, it seems.

    I was raised outside Raleigh but spent summers here with my grand parents. Magical memories in a magical place, for sure. So you can imagine...similar experiences when I returned as well. And I'm white. It's really left me saddened and looking for a diverse place to retire.

    I'm really sorry for your experiences in Maggie, Mr. Qualls.

    Sincerely,
    Julie Spencer

    posted by Julie Spencer

    Thursday, 06/24/2021

  • The numerous Back the Blue signs were in response to another hotel down in Maggie posting “ACAB” on their marquee. I’d never heard of the saying “All Cops are Bastards” before. Prior to this incident, Back the Blue signs were only sporadic.

    posted by DJT

    Thursday, 06/24/2021

  • Sir. I have lived in Maggie valley my whole life and I can promise you there is nothing racist about backing the blue. You just made it racist yourself ALL LIVES MATTER. Our heritage in Maggie valley is good for everyone it’s what you make of it. It’s all about being respectful of others.

    posted by P Martin

    Wednesday, 06/23/2021

  • I believe the two movements can coexist backing law enforcement is very important in a resort town and I feel confident it did not imply any disrespect for anyone in most small towns race is not a issue white ,black,native Americans and all races are welcome I think we consider it natural we were raised to respect each other and our differences were a point of pride not ridicule
    You need to go back for another visit and give the people of Maggie Valley a chance to show you love

    posted by Jean Claiborne

    Wednesday, 06/23/2021

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