Black-Owned Mississippi Restaurant Vandalized with Racial Slur and 'Get Out' Message: 'I Don't Know Why Anyone Would Do This'

A black-owned Mississippi restaurant has been vandalized and daubed with racist graffiti telling its owner they are not welcome in that part of town.

Vikki Layne Terrell, owner of the restaurant Vikki Layne's in Walnut Street in downtown Hattiesburg, discovered the vandalism after returning to the property on Monday afternoon, having locked up around 6:30 p.m. on Sunday.

She walked in to find plates smashed, tables overturned and the n-word, "Get out," and "You not welcome" scrawled on the walls.

Vandalism at Vikki Layne’s on Walnut Street. Full story to come.

— The Pine Belt News (@PineBeltNEWS) September 30, 2019

"I don't know why anyone would do this," she told the Mississippi Clarion Ledger. "I should not walk into the women's room and see racial slurs on the walls."

Hattiesburg Police were called shortly before 3 p.m. and have confirmed they are investigating the suspected hate crime after inspecting the scene. Nearby surveillance cameras have also been reviewed for potential suspects, however, none have yet been identified.

Terrell, who reportedly moved her business to the downtown area of Hattiesburg less than a year ago, said she never experienced problems prior to the move. Since the change of location, however, she is experiencing more and more racial discrimination, she said.

Examples she provided included white customers who asked not to be seated next to black customers and white customers asking to be served by a white waitress.

"This is just reprehensible. This is unacceptable," Andrea Saffle, executive director of the Downtown Hattiesburg Association, told WDAM-7 News.

"Hattiesburg is a diverse and welcoming community. This is just not acceptable. Vikki is a talented restaurateur. Her food is fantastic. We're just heartbroken that something like this would take place."

Despite her experience, Terrell insists that the problems and recent vandalism will not deter her from cleaning up the restaurant and getting back to business.

"And I'll be in this building for years to come," she said. "They should have at least waited until I was tired. You just gave me my second wind. Now I can't dare let you make me move. I can't dare let you make me get out. This is just a bump in the road, and it's not even a big bump."

Newsweek has requested comment from Vikki Layne Terrell.

Following the vandalism, Terrell received an outpouring of support on Facebook. One such user, Dessy Colleen, wrote: "I am absolutely proud of you and how for you have come with your business! I am thankful for your kind words each time we go, and I appreciate you walking up to our table to make sure we have enjoyed our meals!

"Your food is excellent! I love how much you enjoy cooking for Hattiesburg! I hate that anyone thought that you deserved what they did. If you need any help getting things back together, please let me know. I would be happy to spare some time to help you get things back going!"

Anyone with information with regards to the crime is asked to call Hattiesburg police at 601-544-7900 or Metro Crime Stoppers at 601-582-7867.