Opening in 1996, the store sold Confederate memorabilia, Ku Klux Klan robes, and served as a meeting place for Klansmen, Neo-Nazis, and other white supremacist organizations.
As told in the new film BURDEN, Reverend David Kennedy, a black Baptist Minister and Civil Rights activist, took in Michael Burden Jr., a former Klansmen who lived at the store. As a token of thanks, Burden sold Reverend Kennedy partial ownership of the Redneck Shop and, after a long legal battle, it was ruled that rightful ownership of the property was held by Reverend Kennedy and The New Beginning Missionary Baptist Church, with The Redneck Shop _finally_ closing in 2012. This saga has been covered in numerous outlets over the years, including an ABC Primetime Special in the 1990s, along with coverage in [The Washington Post](https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/1996/03/18/bygone-signs-of-hate-now-carry-a-price-tag/5789a23a-99dd-4cae-bddc-003472e7f99e/), [The Los Angeles Times] (https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1997-jul-30-mn-17662-story.html), and [The New York Times] (https://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/13/us/in-laurens-sc-the-redneck-shop-and-its-neighbor.html).
Currently, the building sits dilapidated and abandoned, still containing remnants of its past tenant. We are proud to be starting The Echo Project: an organization launched in coordination with Reverend Kennedy and the New Beginning Missionary Baptist Church family. We are focused on breathing new life into the former Redneck Shop: changing it for the better, and creating a beacon of hope in Laurens, South Carolina. Your donation helps us begin the process of renovating The Redneck Shop into a community and diversity center!
The filmmakers and 101 Studios are excited to work with the Reverend David Kennedy, The New Beginnings Missionary Baptist Church and the Echo Project to kickstart this renovation campaign. To get the word out, we’re asking fans to tweet their message of support using the hashtag #RehabHate after they see Burden in theaters. For the first 200 supporters to use the hashtag, we’ll place a custom engraved brick at the site of the new ECHO THEATER. After the first 200 bricks are claimed, additional supporters can purchase a larger-format TILE that not only has their name, but also a sentiment written on the tile. Please email EchoProjectSC@gmail.com for more details.
Introducing The Echo Project: a 501(c)(3) organization launched in coordination with Reverend Kennedy, and the New Beginnings Missionary Baptist Church family. We are focused on breathing new life into the former Redneck Shop: changing it for the better, and creating a beacon of hope in Laurens, South Carolina.