ROANOKE RAPIDS, N.C. (WNCN) — Roanoke Rapids police are asking for the public’s help in finding the person who vandalized the Sarah Keyes Evans monument late last week.

Between Thursday and Friday, someone damaged the brick at the monument at Martin Luther King Jr. Park which is at the intersection of Wyche Street and Virginia Avenue.

The damage consisted of painted graffiti on the corner of a brick wall that faces west toward Lewis Street. The graffiti appears to depict flames but does not look consistent with anything gang or hate-crime-related, police said.

(Roanoke Rapids Police Dept.)

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If you have any information about this criminal vandalism you are encouraged to contact the Roanoke Rapids Police Department at (252) 533-2810, or Halifax County CrimeStoppers through their website application at Please, if you know something say something. “This type of damage will not be tolerated in this city”.

Keys is recognized as a civil rights pioneer. In August 1952, she took a bus from Trenton, N.J., to her home in Washington, N.C., according to Time magazine. It was her first visit home since joining the military.

The bus stopped in Roanoke Rapids around midnight to change drivers. The new driver told Keys to give up her seat for a white Marine. She refused.

Everyone had to get off the bus, and the driver let everyone get on another bus except Keys who was arrested and led away to a police car by two officers.