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Petition launched to remove Broadstairs plaque to minstrel performer as Black Lives Matter campaign gathers steam

A seaside plaque commemorating the life of a well-known blackface minstrel is under review after campaigners called for it to be removed.

A petition has been launched urging Thanet District Council to clear the memorial to Uncle Mack from Victoria Parade, Broadstairs.

Uncle Mack's Minstrels
Uncle Mack's Minstrels

Activist Rachada Suesat, who created the page, 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.

The plaque is along the Broadstairs seafront. Picture: Google (36541278)
The plaque is along the Broadstairs seafront. Picture: Google (36541278)

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.

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

"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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