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Blackface minstrel Uncle Mack plaque in Broadstairs sprayed with graffiti

A box used to cover a controversial plaque commemorating a blackface minstrel has been daubed with graffiti.

The plaque to Uncle Mack on Broadstairs seafront has been covered by Thanet District Council while it looks at whether statues and other commemorative symbols in the district can remain.

Ian Driver sprayed graffiti over the box which is covering the controversial Uncle Mack plaque
Ian Driver sprayed graffiti over the box which is covering the controversial Uncle Mack plaque

But the box was sprayed with pink graffiti by activitist and former district councillor Ian Driver during Saturday's peaceful Black Lives Matter march.

His actions received mixed reactions on social media, with some calling it an act of vandalism.

But Mr Driver said: "I don't think it should just be removed - I think it should be destroyed

"It's an affront to all right-thinking people. It has no right in a museum or anywhere else. I think Thanet council's so-called review is a joke.

"Plain and simple, Uncle Mack was a racist. What review do you need?

"If the council won't remove it, I will do it myself and don't care about the consequences."

The memorial to Uncle Mack is in Victoria Parade, Broadstairs
The memorial to Uncle Mack is in Victoria Parade, Broadstairs

Another activist Rachada Suesat, has launched a petition to removed the plaque.

He says the item should be replaced as it acts as a "monument to colonial-era bigotry and racism".

"The blackface tradition that Uncle Mack's plaque represents is now widely regarded as an embarrassment and a shameful spotlight on Britain’s racist past," he explained.

"It is an ugly reminder of both the horrors of our past and of how little we have done to make amends.

"The glorification of blackface minstrels has no place in modern society."

Uncle Mack led a troupe that performed in black face paint in a number of venues across Broadstairs between 1895 and 1948.

Uncle Mack's Minstrels
Uncle Mack's Minstrels

The plaque says he "brought joy and laughter" to residents and visitors to the town.

However, it was previously at the centre of controversy when a similar appeal was launched for it to be removed.

Minstrel shows originated in 19th century America, where white men would cover their faces with grease to perform racist depictions of black people on stage.

Mr Suesat added: "For over 50 years, Uncle Mack's blackface minstrel show was a popular and common sight on Broadstairs beach.

"Like similar entertainment at the time, Uncle Mack and his band blacked up in a crude, cruel and demeaning caricature of black people.

"Uncle Mack's plaque must be removed and Thanet’s collective past acknowledged.

"The histories that we choose to celebrate define us as a society, and racism has no place in Broadstairs, Thanet, the UK or the world."

Mr Suesat suggests the plaque should instead be kept in a museum and replaced with an item chosen by residents and the local authority.

A spokesman for the district council said: "This plaque has been covered as the council is now reviewing the status of statues and commemorations within the district."

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