RACISM IN AMERICA: Maryland woman delegate seeks Hilton answer on KKK picture. By Ahmar Mustikhan


Hilton Worldwide passed the buck on to the New Orleans based HRI Hospitality, while that company blamed the owners of the property for horrific picture. Hilton Foundation says link cut with Hotel 2007

Maryland, USA: Hilton Worldwide passed the buck on to the New Orleans based HRI Hospitality, while that company blamed the owners of the property for horrific picture. Hilton Foundation says link cut with Hotel 2007

Though a Conrad Hilton Foundation spokesperson said the Hilton family has no links with the hotel any more , according to Hilton Newroom last week, Paris Hilton joined CEO Chris Nassetta & Chief Marketing Officer Mark Weinstein to talk on the importance of creating authentic connections with customers— hope they discussed colored customers too since I faced my worst nightmare at The Tutwiler in Birmingham two nights of September, 13 and 14, after seeing a picture of KKK terrorists on their eighth floor. Not sure what the hotel bosses told Paris Hilton but so far they have not responded to an appeal to put busts of civil rights icons in lobbies and keep books such as “We Why Can’t Wait” in rooms at their hotels in the Deep South and every U.S. county where a lynching took place.

A Maryland house delegate, who has been passionate about honoring the victims of lynchings in the U.S., has called for an update from the Hilton’s The Tutwiler in Birmingham about a nasty picture that glorified KKK leaders— the main outfit that terrorized blacks under U.S. state tutelage.

In a letter to the Hilton Worldwide, Joseline Pena-Melnyk requested update “on the status of a concerning photo in Hampton Inn & Suites Birmingham-Downtown-Tutwiler in Birmingham, Alabama.”

Pena-Melnyk, who represents parts of Prince George’s and Anne Arundel counties, informed Hilton Worldwide’s Rachel Torres that Kay French, the General Manager of the Tutwiler, informed that the Hotel will take into consideration this writer’s request to replace the photo (with that of the Four Little Girls, killed by KKK bombing at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church 60 years ago).

The church is only four blocks or less than 15 minutes walk from the hotel that still carries the name of its financier and Confederate veteran, Major Edward Magruder Tutwiler. According to Ancestry.Com, the name is Americanized form of Swiss German Duttweiler .

Pena-Melnyk led the creation of the nation’s first statewide truth commission empowered to investigate racial terror lynchings and address the legacy of racial terror, the premier EJI reported.

Her bill, HB 307, passed into law four years ago after it received overwhelming bipartisan support in the Maryland house and passed the state senate with a unanimous vote.

The act acknowledges that at least 40 African Americans were lynched in Maryland between 1854 and 1933 by white supremacists who “intended to terrorize African American communities and force them into silence and subservience to the ideology of white supremacy.”

EJI report quoted black scholar Nicholas M. Creary, Ph.D., who is now Institutional Justice, Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion (JEDI) Officer at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in picture-pretty Monterey, CA — the professor was in Birmingham for the 60th Commemoration— , as saying the law would “stop the silencing of African American communities that was an integral element of racial terror lynchings.”

Pena-Melnyk asked the Hilton Worldwide, “Do you have a status update on this? Has the photo been removed or replaced?”

The KKK terrorists picture caption reads “The 26th annual Confederat Veterans Reunion— Tutwiler Hotel Lobby.” The date, also hand written, is given as May 1916. This writer took the picture at 6.02 am on September 13, 2023.

Independent research at the Library of Congress in Washington DC by this writer confirmed that the Confederate veterans fully owned the KKK at the time the Hilton picture was snapped. Some of the men in the picture was hailed by the Montgomery Advertiser May 14, 1916 issue for ridding the South of the “Negro menace,” the research by this writer at the LOC revealed.

In fact, after a period of dormancy, the 1916 Confederate veterans reunion seems to have helped revive the KKK. “A unique feature was a group of Ku-Klux in costume. The report is that this mysterious organization is to be restored….” the monthly Confederate Veterans magazine reported on June 16, 1916.

The picture also shows black servants of the white men, both men and women, showing that the supremacists were okay as long as the blacks were their subordinates or servants but never as an equal, let alone be their leader.

In fact, even today white supremacists have the same mindset and were in shock and disbelief when Americans elected Barack Obama twice in 2008 and 2012. These whites then elected a characterless white president with zero intellect, Donald Trump— fit perhaps for a mayoral post in a small town in Dixieland.

The chief marketing manager of of McLean headquartered Hilton Worldwide, Mark Weinstein, last week told this writer, “As you may know, the Hampton Inn & Suites Birmingham-Downtown-Tutwiler is an independently owned and operated property and we do not control the day-to-day operations of the property.  We have, however, contacted the hotel’s management company and have been advised that the picture was removed.”

He also said the property is also working to determine a replacement that ensures a welcoming experience for every guest at every stay.

However, the independently owned and operated property called HRI Hospitality, with headquarters in New Orleans, led by A. Thomas Leonard Jr., president and CEO, informed this correspondent that they don’t own the said property on 2021 Park Place.

“Though we are not able to accurately fact check how this picture was selected for the property, what we can assure you is that it has been permanently removed. Action was taken by our team immediately to ensure the picture was taken down in alliance with our zero-tolerance policy for discrimination of any kind,” said Larry Daniel’s, senior vice president of HRI Hospitality, who is black.

“We cannot speak to the replacement as we are not the owners of the property, and the ownership team is working to determine an appropriate replacement,” Mr Daniels added.

Weinstein, without mentioning the name of the Hilton Worldwide founder Conrad N. Hilton, said “Our brand was founded more than 100 years ago on the idea that we could make the world a better place by spreading the light and warmth of hospitality in our hotels.  Anything that detracts from that mission is squarely against our values and our purpose as a company.”

Hilton worth almost $40 billion was the first international hotel chain and operates in 122 countries. It rents out 200 million rooms every year.

When Conrad Hilton passed away at age 91 in 1979 he left his estate to the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. The foundation board members are all his progenies. The more famous among his grandchildren are Paris, Kathy and Baron— all top celebrities, in their own ways. But the Foundation says it has nothing to do with Hilton Worldwide.

“The story you linked to is certainly not in alignment with the values of the family or the Hilton Foundation. However, the Hilton family sold the hotel brand 16 years ago in 2007, and the Hilton Foundation is and has always been an independent entity from the hotel brand,” said Julia Friedman, senior communications manager of the foundation.

Strangely, in stark contrast to the racism witnessed at The Tutwiler, the Doubletree Hilton in the city of Montgomery honors civil rights leaders Dr Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks, whose famous “No” helped end segregation on Montgomery buses.

In June 1917, when the Confederate veterans held their parade in Washington DC the participants, in addition to the KKK, included Chief Justice Edward D. White, himself a Confederate veteran and son of a slave-owning sugar planter from Lafourche Parish, Louisiana. According to archived material retrieved with the help of of Will Elsbury, Military History Specialist

at the Main Reading Room of 

the Library of Congress, “When the Louisiana division came into sight, Chief Justice White, who was one the ‘boys in gray’ left his seat in the reviewing stand and joined his comrades, marching past with them.” This writer has lived and worked as a journalist in Louisiana and it is among one of the most difficult states for people of color.

Meanwhile, one racist angry over removal of the KKK picture from The Tutwiler told this writer to go back to India.

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