Threatening, racist letters found in mailboxes in Fairfield County, deputies say

Updated: Feb. 12, 2021 at 8:51 PM EST
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DAWKINS, S.C. (WIS) - Several Fairfield County residents who are Black have received “hate mail” that included racist language and threats, deputies confirmed.

One of the recipients sent the letter to WIS. Offensive language has been redacted in the image above, but the message is still clear: “We want your Black — out of this community now.”

The victim said she lives in the small town of Dawkins, near Jenkinsville.

She said she and several of her Black neighbors got the letters that appear to threaten to burn down or “shook” up their homes if they don’t leave.

“Only one warning,” the letters said.

The Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office confirmed it is investigating, and has asked the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) for help.

Deputies want to collect and process the letters for possible DNA and/or fingerprints. Investigators ask that anyone who has one that has not opened it, to not do so and call them instead.

WIS spoke to multiple Dawkins residents who were surprised, but defiant, about the letters.

Shirley Howze said she’s a life-long resident of the community. She was “shocked” to receive the letter, saying she had never had race-related issues before.

“All I can say is that God is on our side and somebody needs some help, because this shouldn’t be happening,” she said. “We’ve been living here all our lives. If someone thinks they’re going to run us off our property, they need to wake up and stop dreaming because they’re in for a rude awakening. We’re not going any place.”

Howze said she is not sure why she was targeted.

“I’ll tell you what, if anyone comes here and tries to bother me, I’m going to protect myself,” she said.

A family member of another Dawkins resident who received a letter echoed Howze. For safety reasons, the family member requested their name be withheld.

“I just feel like this is our neighborhood...I’m not going anywhere no time soon,” she said. “I’m just frustrated as to why you would to take time out of your day, your life, to send this to Christian people.”

So far, three letters have been turned over for evidence.

Victims can call 803-635-4141 or 803-635-5511 for help.

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