Mayor Adam Barringer invisible after KKK furor, but takes center stage in MLK celebration

Mayor member of all-white, all-male Anglers Club hearkening back to Jim Crow era

Headline Surfer® videos and photos by Henry Frederick /
Sabrina Brooks, shown in the first two video clips, reacts to New Smyrna Beach Mayor Adam Barringer's presence (shown below) during the annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. March from the African-American Westside to the city's downtown park. She was among a dozen or so residents and a church who woke up to the presence of Ku Klux Klan fliers in their yards. Brooks said it's 'sad' that the mayor, who belongs to an all-white, all-male Anglers Club on the Intracoastal Waterway wasn't around then. In the final video clip, citizen activist Melvini Brown, Sr., says the Westside gets the 'bones that are left' from what is invested in the rest of the popular tourism seaside community.

Mayor Adam Barringer speaks during 2014 MLK event / Headline Sufer®MLKcrowd in New Smyrna Beach / Headline Surfer®NEW SMYRNA BEACH -- The Rev. Lorenzo Laws of the Allen Chapel AME Church and others in the predominantly-African-American Westside community and other parts of this coastal community marched across the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial Bridge and into the Old Fort Park downtown for the MLK holiday vigil.

In fact, a couple of nights after the incident, Barringer held a fundraiser at his beachside wine-bar restaurant for County Councilwoman Deb Denys' re-election campaign and neither availed themselves to the media or to the churches or residents offended by the flyer invasion.

KKK flyers left in front of homes in New Smyrna Beach's black Westside community / Hreadline Surfer®New Smyrna Beach Mayor Adam Barringer, member of all-white, all-male Anglers Cub silent on KKK / Headline Surfer®County Councilwoman Deb Denys silent on KKK in New Smyrna Beach / Headline Surfer®While citizens and church leaders in the mostly-blackWestside community were pressing for answers as to why the cops weren't doing anything about recruitment flyers, like the image shown here from one of them, from the Ku Klux Klan were left on their front yards in November, New Smyrna Beach Mayor Adam Barringer, first elected in 2009, and district 3 County Councilwoman elected in 2012, were out of the loop in media interviews and not condemning the KKK. She did not return calls as to why she wasn't at the MLK event.

The flyers -- with the image of the over-sized white hood that since the early days of Jim Crow has been the unmistakable symbol the mark of the militant and cross-burning Ku Klux Klan -- were contained in clear plastic baggies with fishing weights in them so they wouldn't blow away.

Headline Surfer®, which quickly followed Orlando's FOX 35 in breaking the story, was the lone media outlet to pay a visit to the church for that Sunday's worship attended by 40 or so regular worshippers, who mostly live in the tight-knit Westside, borne out of segregation, with separate black public schools as late as 1969, including the Chisholm School, which stands this day as an elementary school.

Only three public officials in Volusia County spoke out against the KKK visit in the middle of the night: County Chair Jason Davis, of Edgewater, a combat-wounded hero of the Iraq War; Webster Barnaby, a Deltona City commissioner, and at-large Councilwoman Joyce Cusack of DeLand, born and raised in the Westside community.

Volusia County Chair Jason Davis / Headline Surfer®Deltona City Commissioner Webster Barnaby / Headline Surfer®County Councilwoman Joyce Cusack / Headline Surfer®Volusia County County Chair Jason Davis, Deltona City Commissioner Webster Barnaby and At-Large County Councilwoman Joyce Cusack, shown left to right, were the only public officials countywide to speak out against the KKK flier drop in the Westside of New Smyrna Beach.

But here in New Smyrna Beach, where the KKK had strong influence at the turn of the previous century, from Jacksonville down through Oak Hill and across the area, including the back woods of Samsula, just west of the coastal communities, a group of privileged white men set up shop back in 2013 along the Intracoastal Waterway during the Jim Crow era where they established the exclusive "whites only" Anglers Club.

The exclusive all-white, all-male Anglers Club of New Smyrna Beach / Headline Surfer®NSB Msyor Adam Barringer is an Angler / Headline Surfer®The all-white-all-male Anglers Club is shown at far left from the rear of the New Smyrna Beach Marina where it sits on prime city-owned acreage on the Intracoastal Waterway in an exclusive sweetheart-lease secured nearly a century ago that continues for decades more. Mayor Adam Barringer, shown here in a boat parade, is a second-generation member of the Anglers, which has about 90 members, all of whom are white and male.

Barringer, and his father are members of that exclusive fishermen's club, which is private, invitation only, even as it sits on city-owned land.

And while the race restriction was lifted from the private club's charter back in the early 1970s by the federal government, it remains exclusively all-white as well as all-male.

The anglers enjoy all the amenities of a two-story clubhouse -- complete with outdoor grill, 47 large boat slips on prime riverfront acreage adjacent to the New Smyrna Beach Marina.

And get this: The Anglers pay $25 annually for the entire city-owned property through a long-term lease that continues for several more decades.

And while Barringer pledged in his election for office in 2009 to renegotiate the terms of the lease, he's done nothing of the sort to this day.

During his tenure in office, Barringer has pushed for upwards of $2 million in Community Redevelopment Agency grants -- taxpayer money intended to fight blight -- to instead fix up bars and to fund alcohol-fueled street parties on the beachside while the Westside continues to decay with crumbled sidewalks and decaying properties.

MLK march in NSB / Headline Surfer®Young people march in MLK parade in NSB / Headline Surfer®New Smyrna Beach High School teens, younger kids, parents and grandparents, take part in the annual 'Dr. Martin Luther King Day' march, including trekking across the the bridge that bears the slain civil rights leader's name.

And on a day like today, the last person anyone in the Westside saw they would see was Adam Barringer, the flashy mayor with the pearly whites, who's known for giving speeches.

And while others had march the couple miles, the mayor pulled up to the downtown park in his white Barringer construction pick-up truck for the MLK rally and took center stage. 

"The first words out of his mouth were, "How about a big round of applause for each and everyone of you who came out today."

The mayor then proceeded to wax poetic about how far race relations have come in the nearly 50 years since MLK's crusade. He equated Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson as an example of how far African Americans have come as far as prominence "where players are all equal -- not because of their skin color, but because of their talent.

Some in the crowd later joked that Barringer apparently never heard of a black QB for the Washington Redskins by the name of Doug Williams, who was MVP of Super Bowl XXII back in 1988 over the Denver Broncos.

For Melvin Brown, Sr., an elderly black man who has been fighting city hall for years, he did everything he could to hold his tongue and be respectful of the mayor.

"He has some gall," Brown said, adding Barringer's speech was self-serving, especially after calling his fellow city commissioners to the stage to take a bow -- Judy Reiker, Jack Grasty, Jason McGuirk and Kirk Jones, none of whom were available to media when the KKK furor was news.

Melvin Brown of NSB / Headline Surfer®"He has some gall," Westside citizen activist Melvin Brown, Sr., said, adding Barringer's speech was self-serving, especially after calling his fellow city commissuioners to yje stage to take a bow -- Judy Reiker, Jack Grasty, Jason McGuirk and Kirk Jones, none of whom were available to media when the KKK furor was news.

"Somethings just never change. At least they haven't in my lifetime here," Brown said, but adding he found comfort in seeing Headline Surfer® here as the internet newspaper has dome since it was established in 2008, covering the stories that matter.

Rev. Laws told Headline Surfer®, that he didn't contact the Justice Department about the KKK, but rather "they contacted me after learning about it online with your reporting and the other (bigger) media reports.

"They're going to bring an entourage and they're going to "get to the bottom of it," Laws told the 24/7 internet newspaper, reiterating what he had informed his congregants moments earlier in his sermon.

Headline Surfer® videos /
The Rev. Lorenzo Laws of the Allen Chapel AME Church of New Smyrna Beach speaks to members of his congregation the Sunday following the discovery of KKK 'recruitment' fliers on the front lawns of of a dozen or so residences and his sanctuary sometime during the overnight hours of Nov. 12. 

New Smyrna Beach police took filled-out complaints from four residents and ended its investigation within hours, even noting in its own incident report that that was trickled to media outlets over a period of days with no press release issued nor any attempt made to contact the FBI or the Justice Department.

Sabrina Brooks, a Westside resident, who found a flyer on her front yard when she walked out the door to go to work, said she was happy the community was able to come together for the MLK event, but in reality, nothing has really changed.  

"It's sad," she said.

As for the mayor, when the ceremony ended, he hopped off the opposite side of the stage away from the reporter and into his pick-up truck. He didn't return calls for comment.

Previous-Related Stories:

BREAKING: Justice Dept. to visit New Smyrna Beach to investigate KKK situation in African-American Westside Posted Mon, 2013-11-18 05:41
Pastor: KKK flyers left at homes near church in New Smyrna Beach's predominantly African-American Westside
Posted Wed, 2013-11-13 04:11
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Short Bio

Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet news outlet covering the Daytona Beach-Sanford-Orlando metro area via since 2008. A longtime cops & courts reporter focused on breaking news & investigative reporting, Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most prolific daily news reporters, having amassed close to a hundred award-winning byline stories nearly evenly split in print and digital platforms. Frederick earned his Master of Arts in New Media Journalism with academic honors from Full Sail University in Winter Park in February 2019. He was a metro reporter with the Daytona Beach News-Journal for nearly a decade and then served as a city editor for the Taunton Daily Gazette in Taunton, Mass, while maintaining a residence in Central Florida. Prior to moving to Florida, Frederick was a metro reporter for the Rockland Journal-News in West Nyack, NY, for seven years. Headline Surfer was named the Sunshine State's top internet news site by the Florida Press Club in 2018.