Cook's Garage, a restaurant in Lubbock, Texas is standing firm in their decision to keep a sign hanging that others care calling racist. The sign in question is a neon caricature of an African-American man with a porter's cap and the words "Coon Chicken Inn" written inside the mouth.
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A person attending a company Christmas party on Wednesday noticed the sign hanging on the wall and posted photos of it on social media. Many called the owners racist for having the sign on display but within 24 hours the owners of the restaurant responded on social media.
The owners wrote, "We did not put this sign up to be derogatory, racist or to offend anyone. This is part of Americana History…just like everything else hung in our collection and buildings." They also shared images of several other signs hanging in the restaurant.
They went on to say, "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.."
If you're wondering what exactly "Coon Chicken Inn" is, the Ferris State University Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia describes it here:
"The Coon Chicken Inn was a highly successful restaurant chain from the late 1920s through the 1950s. A grinning, grotesque head of a bald Black man with a porter's cap and winking eye formed a restaurant's entryway. The door was in the middle of his mouth. The restaurants sold southern fried Coon Chicken sandwiches, chicken pie, livers – and hamburgers, seafood, chili, cakes, and assorted sandwiches. When possible, Blacks were used as waiters, waitresses, and cooks."
Cook's Garage has been open since April 2017 according to its website and it started as a "man cave' with a showroom for collectible vehicles. The owners added signs and buildings to display them as well as a kitchen to cook lunch for family and employees. Eventually, it turned into a full bar and restaurant.
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