Residents, property owner in Ensley working to remove white supremacists’ messaging from abandoned hospital

Published: Mar. 21, 2023 at 10:24 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Residents in Ensley are working to remove white supremacists’ graffiti and messaging painted on the old Holy Family Community Hospital. The abandoned building is privately owned, so city leaders tell WBRC that they can’t step in and remove the images.

“The city has been very responsive in removing such imagery from public rights of way,” Officials with the mayor’s office said. “When placed on private property, the owner is responsible for addressing the matter. The city has been active in assisting in notification to property owners.”

Residents in the community tell WBRC that they saw this racist messaging about a week ago, you can see it clearly while driving down I-59. They immediately got to work to get it removed.

“We don’t need them wanting to scare or intimidate people in this neighborhood,” Nearby business owner Alexander Brewer said.

Brewer said they don’t know who did it or if the words are connected to the swastikas, but the writing painted states “One Nation Against Invasion” and is signed by Patriot Front.

“It’s a message of hate,” Brewer said. “I am assuming that was their idea, to place their calling card in a Black community, but it is something that to me, is unwanted and not needed anywhere, nevertheless in this community.

Brewer said he researched the sign and learned the group “Patriot Front” is a white nationalist hate group. The messaging has appeared in Birmingham before and residents are working to remove it.

“If you see this or any other type of billboard on a building, google it and see what it is all about,” Brewer said. “If it is something that shouldn’t be there, contact the business owner and contact law enforcement. Let’s get a collective effort in getting this taken down.”

“We don’t want children to see it,” long-time neighborhood resident Annette Davis said. “We don’t want our elders to see it. We don’t want it. We noticed, you know, that is a sign of hate, from a group that wants to spread hate, but what it has done really is bring us together. To make us more resolute, come together to fight that and ensure it does not spread in this community.”

Residents contacted city leaders and the owner of the property.

“The whole community, I got several calls during the last seven days, making me aware it was there,” Property Owner Randal Scott said. “When the city reached out today, that really put the icing on the cake that I gotta go ahead and do something.”

Scott said a truck will be out there this week to use chemicals and pressure washing to remove the sign. He said city leaders offered to help him.

“It could be an excess of $3,000 to $5,000 easy,” Scott said. “It’s sad because it’s so obvious on the interstate, but I’m so happy that we have people that live there, that still care abut the community. We’ve got big plans for that building.”

Scott said he will start clean-up on the property in the coming weeks and has plans to turn the site into housing or condos. He said he is finalizing financing, but already has renderings for the space.

Rendering for old hospital in Ensley
Rendering for old hospital in Ensley(Randal Scott/Bondurant Architecture)

WBRC reached out to Birmingham Police and Birmingham’s local FBI office to learn more about this supremacy group, but are waiting for the data to come back.

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