The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force is investigating an explosion that was detonated near a Colorado Springs NAACP office on Tuesday. The explosion was detonated outside Mr. G’s Hair Design Studio which is next door to the NAACP office. Investigators are not yet certain whether the NAACP office, or the hair salon, was the intended target. The salon caters to a mostly African-American clientele. Investigators have identified a person of interest wanted for questioning regarding the incident. The person of interest is identified as a balding white male in his 40s who drives a dirty, older model pickup truck.
Fortunately, nobody was injured in the blast. Property damage was minor. A gas can left near the detonation failed to ignite or the consequences could have been far more serious. Sandra Young, Denver chapter president of the NAACP, declared the explosion an “act of domestic terrorism”. Colorado Springs chapter president Henry Allen Jr was reluctant to speculate about whether or not the bombing was a hate crime, but he did say his organization would not be deterred by the explosion.
Investigators have not determined if the NAACP was the intended target, but they do believe the bombing was deliberate. The NAACP is no stranger to violence and intimidation. On December 25, 1951 a bomb exploded underneath the bedroom floor of Florida NAACP founder Harry T Moore and his wife, Harriette. The bombing killed both of them. Not only was the explosion on Christmas Day, but it was also the Moores’ 25th wedding anniversary.
On June 12, 1963, NAACP Field Secretary Medgar Evers was murdered in his Jackson, Mississippi driveway by Ku Klux Klan member Byron De La Beckwith. Outrage over Evers’ assassination helped galvanize the civil rights movement. The following year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was signed into law.
Luckily, the Colorado Springs bombing did not result in any injuries to members of the NAACP or to patrons and employees of Mr. G’s Hair Design Studio. As more information about the case becomes available, we may gain insight about the motives of the perpetrator. The NAACP was a frequent target of hate crimes in the 20th century. Hopefully, we are not witnessing a rebirth of violent bigots who fought the civil rights movement with bombs and bullets, leaving their bloody imprint on the American landscape in the 20th century.