Cook’s Garage, a Lubbock, Texas restaurant is currently under fire for a vintage neon sign that is currently hanging in their establishment that depicts the blackface caricature.
The sign is causing an uproar of backlash after a picture was posted to social media by someone who was attending a holiday party at the restaurant. The sign is being called derogatory for the 1920’s restaurant name “Coon Chicken Inn” that was printed on the caricature’s teeth. Coon was a word that was used during the Jim Crow laws after the Civil War to reference African Americans and to justify the violence against them.
People are calling the sign “racist” and “infuriating,” but the owners said in a statement that was commenting on the original picture posting saying:
“We did not put this sing up to be derogatory, racist or to offend anyone. This is part of American History… just like everything else hung in our collection and buildings. Aunt Jemima, mammies, and lots of other black collectibles are highly sought after, as is Americana collectibles with white characters. The Coon Chicken Inn was an actual restaurant started in the 20’s. Again, we want to stress we do not intend to offend anyone, and are only preserving a part of history that should remind us all of the senselessness of racial prejudice.”
According to Everything Lubbock, a Lubbock resident Jasmine Abdullah said, “I was reading the comments, I saw the sign, and I immediately got infuriated. Because i was thinking, ‘In this day and age, we are still having to deal with things like this?… If we want to be remembered as a group of people, that is not how we want to be remembered. If you want to put a piece of American history or African-American hosiery up, there are tons of people you can have hanging up in your restaurant. Not something derogatory.”