Folly Boat painters: Hate won't win

Folly boat on Thursday (Jason Tighe WCIV)

Just hours after a controversial organization painted a divisive message on the Folly Beach Boat, another stroke of the brush covered it up with 'hope, equality, and love.'

The S.C. Secessionist Party had tagged the famous Folly Boat with two Confederate flags and the message "July 10th Dixie Rising."

The group plans to raise the 'Stars and Bars' on the grounds of the Statehouse in Columbia on July 10 to "thumb our nose to those who would erase our history, heritage and culture."

While some applauded the paint job, many thought it was in poor taste, especially considering the anniversary of the mass shooting at Emanuel AME Church is in just two days.

But, as anyone from around here knows, the Folly Boat is always changing and it didn't take long for a couple of brush-toting citizens to change the conversation again.

Michelle Melton and Chrys Blackstone showed up on Folly Thursday afternoon and painted their own message: "Hope, Equality, Love."

"I rode out to the boat as soon as I saw on social media what the other "gentlemen" had painted," Melton said. "I was fully expecting to get there and either the boat had been painted already or see 15 people masterfully regarding our beloved Folly Boat. To my surprise I saw one man (Chrys, whom I only met today) with a bucket of paint, a brush and a smile. I ran down the street [and] bought a roller and a can of red spray paint.

When I got back one of the individuals from the hate group I will not mention was sitting in his car smoking with the look of the car who ate the Canary. I simply said "NOT TODAY" as I passed his car and returned the glare that was shot my way. Dixie Land now playing in the radio as Chrys and I painted our message... Hope Equality LOVE."

They shared their artwork proudly over social media with the hashtag #HateWontWin

According to posts on social media, as soon as the coast was clear, someone painted the boat with Confederate flags again - just like the Secessionist Party said they would in their Facebook post.

"Poor liberals are losing their minds over the Folly Boat painting," their post reads. "Guess we'll have to keep hitting it. Over and over and over and over again."

Melton said she hopes others will respond the way she and Chrys did.

"I acted because I am tired of the eye roll, scroll by mentality," she said. "We can not continue to look the other way as people terrorize our communities and our country. I am a firm believer in the old adage 'If you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything.'"

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