On Monday, numerous individuals traveling on Interstate 65 close to Clanton reported seeing a digital road sign displaying messaging from white supremacist organization, Patriot Front.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Patriot Front is a white nationalist hate group that utilizes patriotic symbolism and rhetoric to spread its hateful ideology across the country. The incident occurred on Memorial Day.
One traveler made a post on Twitter including two pictures showing the different messages that appeared on the sign. One slide said “Reclaim America” and the other said “Patriot Front US.”
“Captured these before the trooper waved me to go on. How does this come about? Is it an inside job kind of thing? It also said ‘Road Work Nightly’ or something on the third ‘slide’ and it was an actual work zone that followed. Weird as hell. (I-65 near Clanton heading north)”
The road signs belong to the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT).
According to AL.com, public information officer for ALDOT’s West Central Region, John McWilliams, stated that the portable messaging board in Chilton County on I-65 was hacked. McWilliams also stated that officials would be investigating the incident.
“A citizen alerted a nearby state trooper about the message, who then contacted ALDOT,” McWilliams told AL.com. “ALDOT personnel immediately responded and turned the message board off. No other message boards on I-65 were affected.”
Patriot Front has routinely had messaging appear throughout Alabama, specifically Birmingham, in the past few years. Birmingham is a city with a majority Black population.
Just 10 days ago another Twitter user posted a picture that showed graffiti from Patriot Front along the Red Mountain Expressway in Birmingham. The graffiti was spray painted in red and blue letters with the words, “We Dare Defend Our Rights Patriot Front US.”
“Today on the Red Mountain Expressway in Birmingham, Alabama, epicenter of the Civil Rights movement of Shuttlesworth and King,” the user posted. “White supremacy is alive and well.”