KKK rally revives 1990's "Hanging Klansman" skateboard graphic

July 17, 2015  •  696 Comments

“Oprah isn't going to get mad at ya?” jests a shop employee as Ramone, Corey and Sean from 2 Fat 2 Fly fame try on their new shirts at Bluetile Skateshop Friday afternoon in Columbia, South Carolina - where the town is preparing for a KKK rally Saturday at the state house.

 

Bluetile Klansman ShirtBluetile Klansman ShirtBluetile Skateshop Hanging Klansman shirts - Columbia, SC - 7/16/15

Photos by South Carolina photographer Sean Rayford


In 1990 skateboard designer Jim Thiebaud released his first pro board with and after founding Real Skateboards. By the 90's the “Third Wave” of the KKK had emerged and Thiebaud wanted to use the skateboard as more than just as tool of the sport. He wanted to make a social statement of the times. With the “Hanging Klansman” he did so while adding a new chapter to the history of skateboarding – one where the skateboard itself was an artistic statement on society.

“The satire of this piece lies in its irony. Thiebaud uses a widely known weapon of the KKK against a member of their own to expose the organization's hideous nature, and his opinion of them, to a wider audience. Perhaps skateboarding patrons seldom thought of the KKK, but this board brought the subject to the foreground and encouraged conversation.” See: THE HANGING KLANSMAN: USING SKATEBOARD ART AS A POLITICAL STATEMENT

 

Bluetile Klansman ShirtBluetile Klansman ShirtBluetile Skateshop Hanging Klansman shirts - Columbia, SC - 7/16/15

Photos by South Carolina photographer Sean Rayford

 

As the people of the Soda City wondered about the approaching KKK rally scheduled for Saturday at the state house, an owner of a local skateshop was throwing an idea around – printing up t-shirts with the skateboard graphic - and tagged Real Skateboards and Thiebaud on social media posts. Thiebaud's response?

 

Bluetile Klansman ShirtBluetile Klansman ShirtBluetile Skateshop Hanging Klansman shirts - Columbia, SC - 7/16/15

Photos by South Carolina photographer Sean Rayford

 

“Print em up,” says Dave Toole, who has operated Bluetile Skateshop since 2001. The following day, Toole got a phone call from Thiebaud to ask if there was really a KKK rally happening in Columbia. After confirmation, Thiebaud sent the art files and instructed Toole to print, “as many as you want.”

On Friday, Bluetile began giving away a limited number of the shirts to those who stopped by the store. The majority will be reserved for distribution on Saturday at the capitol grounds. In addition to the KKK, the New Black Panthers and a church group will assemble separately on a different part of the grounds during overlapping times. Following this weekend's events Toole will determine whether the shirts will be sold and details involving sending profits to the Emanuel Nine families.

 

Bluetile Klansman ShirtBluetile Klansman ShirtBluetile Skateshop Hanging Klansman shirts - Columbia, SC - 7/16/15

Photos by South Carolina photographer Sean Rayford

 

http://www.kadieyale.com/blog/2015/1/19/the-hanging-klansman-using-skateboard-art-as-political-statement-in-the-1990s


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