Eastpointe, Mich. residents are determined to put up a united front despite apparent arson and a racist letter delivered to several residents. They say whoever is trying to scare them should know it’s not working. “I’m not afraid,” 60-year-old Wesley Lawson, who received two copies of the racist letter, told the Detroit News. “They will never run me away. It’ll take more than that to get me to go.”
Lawson was just one of the estimated 17 addresses listed in the letter. Police officials are still investigating whether all 17 letters were mailed out.
Eastpointe is a suburb of Detroit with a 25 percent Black population, and the author of the letter indicated that he wants all African Americans to move out of the town and back into Detroit. “We’re tired of you keep moving into our neighborhood,” states the letter, a copy of which was posted on the local ABC News affiliate’s Web site. “You need to move back across 8 Mile. We just need to start killing you one-by-one.”
All of this preceded the fire which hit a house on the 15100 block of Sprenger St. in Eastpointe on July 8. The African-American man that owned the house has alternate living arrangements and has been rarely seen at that location, Eastpointe police said.
Thus far, officials see no connection to the letters and the fire, but are keeping all possible explanations on the table. “Both Eastpointe Police and FBI investigators have not found anything to relate this fire to those letters,” Eastpointe Deputy Police Chief Leo Borowsky told the Detroit News. “We are treating them as separate incidents at this point. That’s not to say that couldn’t change.”
Residents plan to intensify the neighborhood watch and say in spite of the recent troubles they aren’t going anywhere. “We’ve had an integrated neighborhood for 10 or 15 years, and we’ve had no problems,” Ruth Gustafson, who is White, told the Detroit Free Press. “It kind of makes you sick to your stomach.”