Howell Chasing Away Racism Legacy

By: Beth Shayne Email
By: Beth Shayne Email

"We are a predominately all white community," Howell Area Chamber of Commerce president Pat Convery says, "There is no way of denying that."

Facts and history are what they are, but perception--a busy group of people in Howell, believe--can change and will.

Through much of Michigan, Howell is known as the home to former KKK Grand Dragon Robert E. Miles. In fact, he lived in Cohort Township nearby, but that fact is lost on many people.

"It's sort of like moving a battleship," Convery describes the process of change, "It's very slow." She says more and more, she sees people of color and hears different languages in the area.

Convery's Chamber of Commerce has pledged itself to diversity. The Livingston Diversity Council is leading the charge. Students at the Howell High School even have a diversity club. They all believe in change.

"Every town has its history," junior Gabby Gonzalez says, "but I think we should concentrate on promoting diversity and good stuff."

That good stuff includes a book club, discussion groups, and a very well attended MLK event on Friday.

"We're being proactive," Convery says. "When you get over that stigma of 'I can't say that' and you actually say it, good things happen."

The students tells us things are far from perfect, but Howell's reputation is not deserved.

"It's a global problem, it's just going to be that way," Gonzalez says.

Visit livingstondiversity.org for more information.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Clark on Sep 3, 2010 at 09:54 PM
    Its apathetic how people of how 'wall' themselves from only '1 Person.' Everybody knows theres activity up there. If these people of Howell had compassion for their brothers under God they would sort out the wrong, complain when 'racial slurs' pepper the conversation with hate. The KKK are Terrorist, its not like Howell is their Fort, they know how to move around. Yet I dont see anybody in Howell or Coachta sounding the alarm on quaint meetings, occasion intense racial aggression. Everything is justified. Racism has breeded this Country before it was a country. It is a elusive subject that plagues this place America. Its going to take the Howell resident whose seen too much to speak out before Howell's legacy is put to bed.
  • by Jake Location: Berkley on Jun 25, 2010 at 11:25 PM
    The racists are alive and well. I was disc-golfing with my girlfriend who is black. A truck parked next to her and said "Long live the Grand Master of the KKK". I didn't hear it and she froze from fear while they drove away. You have to wonder about an area that is so white you can't look around without shades on. Lots of people hold beliefs that are racist but only confide them to friends or family. When I lived in Livingston county, I thought everyone being white was normal. Then I joined the Air Force. Sometimes, you get a super moron in a white truck though. Makes you wonder what makes people move out there - fear or the need for isolation?
  • by karen Gylie Location: Howell on Aug 15, 2009 at 04:22 PM
    Josh, Your comment about HAJFL in Howell Michigan is correct, the coach that racially abused a nine year old boy is still coaching. Can you believe this, Pat convery could not be more wrong, not only is it not changing, it is getting worse.
  • by Josh Location: Hartland on Feb 8, 2008 at 07:50 AM
    There's no denying that racism is alive and well in Howell and that it extends to law enforcement and particularly football leagues that persecute innocent decent people because they "don't want no Mexicans" around. Isn't that a bright quote though? Too much inbredding and intermarriage of the Klan families has created an environment that won't change for decades.
  • by tom Location: grandrapids on Jan 23, 2008 at 06:54 AM
    till the KKK is not allowed to hold rallies and spread hate things will be slow in getting rid of raceism.the color of ones skin has nothing to do with the wonderful person they are.there are good and bad in all colors.KKK should totally be done away with in the usa.it goes beyond freedom of speech.is hate full and so on.I grew up in a town with no other races other than white.as I missed out on so much.and many do as the lies and hate has been spread by a group that should not be allowed in the first place.the bible says we are all created equal,no race is better than another,KKK is totally against the bible teaching.and should be done away with.everyone was put on this earth for a reason,unity is the only way mankind will surrive.we are all humans.prove that differnt,you can't.if you truely believe in god and the bible color has nothing to do with other humans,there's good and bad in all races.and KKK is one of the bad groups.
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