Cards promoting the 'alt-right' are being left in Little Free Libraries

Several people have found them in uptown Minneapolis.

Cards and fliers promoting the "alt-right" are popping up around Minneapolis, raising concerns among the community that white supremacists are trying to organize.

People are especially worried because several of the cards have been found in areas frequented by children and young people – Little Free Libraries.

A Facebook user posted photos of cards she found in a Little Free Library in south Minneapolis on Sunday. 

One card is an invitation to connect with the "alt-right" community and lists resources on the back related to the group. The second card is a call to relocate white South Africans to Minnesota instead of "incompatible Muslims from the third world."

"I was shocked to find this on the street I grew up in...and then I was sickened by the thought that not only is there an alt-right presence in Minneapolis (our home, guys), but that someone is driving around the city, dropping their poison into Little Free Libraries where bookworms young and old are often found rifling through the selection," the woman who found them wrote in the post.

She is not the first person to find those cards. One person commenting on her post said similar cards had been found at The Herkimer in Minneapolis' Uptown neighborhood. 

And in a separate post on Thursday, another Facebook user posted a photo of the same card, which he said he found in a Little Free Library in Minneapolis.

They started showing up this spring

Another Minneapolis man who wanted to remain anonymous told GoMN he started finding "alt-right" and anti-Muslim materials in the Little Free Library near his home earlier this spring.

He usually found things that looked like business cards, but then he started finding full sheets of paper. 

He sent GoMN what he called "one of the less offensive" fliers. (We've cropped off the bottom half, which had the creator's contact information.)

By late May, he was fed up after removing the items several times and contacted the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), hoping the materials would be investigated. 

But after an attorney reviewed the photos, CAIR determined that a crime hadn't been committed.

"Unfortunately there is nothing illegal about it, according to our attorney. It's free speech and it's not really threatening anyone. Our civil rights director suggested that the owner of the box place a note prominently in there to the person putting those materials in there that their literature is not welcomed and that they are trespassing, or words to that affect," CAIR wrote back.

He said after finding out nothing could be done, he went from destroying the materials he found to ripping them up and leaving them there. 

"I realized they might interpret materials being removed as their message finding a receptive audience. I thought the ripped materials (if found by them) would send a more appropriate message," he told GoMN.

And not long after that, he said the Little Free Library on 32nd and Dupont in Minneapolis was taken down permanently. He's not sure if it was related to the issue or not. 

All of the people who found the cards suggested that other people should check the Little Free Libraries in their own communities.

What's the 'alt-right'?

The "alt-right" is a term typically used by white supremacists and white nationalists to describe their beliefs, which include white nationalism and anti-Semitism. 

The New York Times defines "alt-right" and other extremist language in this story here

Next Up