‘Uncle Mack’ plaque in Broadstairs due to be removed permanently

Councillor Rick Everitt

The Uncle Mack memorial plaque in Broadstairs will be permanently removed following a decision by Thanet council.

The plaque is to James Summerson, known as ‘Uncle Mack’, a seaside entertainer in Broadstairs between the 1880s and 1940s.

A decision notice from Thanet council says: “This plaque has given rise to offence and hurt because the entertainment celebrated by it involved a Black and White Minstrels troupe where white entertainers blacked up their faces and behaved with distorted African-American stereotypes.”

Council leader Rick Everitt has taken responsibility for the decision for the plaque’s removal, effective from July 8.

The decision notice says: “Following the recent Black Lives Matter campaign and the concern about statues and other commemorative artifacts which are no longer acceptable, the Leader gave consideration to similar artefacts in the district.”

The plaque was initially covered up as a temporary measure until a decision was made on a permanent solution. Once removed, consideration will be given to the future of the plaque and whether it can usefully be put on display in a museum setting which describes its historical context.

The notice adds: “It could have stayed in place since the plaque represents what was acceptable a hundred years ago. However this might give the mistaken impression that the council condoned this offensive entertainment and its racist overtones.

“It is also important that the Leader and the council sends out a clear message to the Thanet community, that it listens and will act to maintain and foster good relations in the community.”

Councillors have until July 7 to ‘call in’ the decision if they disagree. Thenet Independent councillor Lynda Piper has written to TDC for a call in. She now needs three other councillors to endorse her request.

Thanet Independent group leader Stuart Piper said: “It is important that the decision is debated in public. The outcome will be whatever it will be but it must not give rise to any suggestion that its removal was at the request of one man or even his cabinet.

“Councillors should open it up for discussion and then the decision will be cross party in terms of its politics.”

Former councillor Ian Driver is charged with criminal damage of the box that covered the plaque, amongst seven charges in total, and will appear in court in September.

68 Comments

  1. This is ridiculous. Firstly, it is the lefties and the snowflakes winning. Secondly this is less than a week for a public discussion. How do we stop this happening without a proper debate.

    • Brendan if enough councillors share your concerns this decision can still be “called in” and reconsidered. If that doesn’t happen it means there is broad support for it across the council. I’m a councillor and I support it personally so won’t be calling it in.

      • I’m sorry to hear that Mark. I’m also sorry to hear that you’re very likely not to have a seat at the next local election.

        The mistake that you’ve made is that you represent your community, that’s why you were elected. You were not elected to put across your own personal views and disregard those views of the people that elected you. Mark Hopkinson, typical labour snowflake.

        Kind regards,
        The majority of Thanet residents.

        • The irony! You pull up an elected representative for not representing the views of those who actually voted for him, presumably because of those views and then sign yourself off as the spokesperson for the majority… sorry but who appointed you?

    • What a shirt sighted descision. I have a photo of my late husband with Uncle Mack on the beach and his act was of it’s time. He was a generous and gracious man by all accounts. He was not a slave trader or a racist and the obliteration of such memorials effectively denies us our history . Yes by all means take down the memorials of those who have REALLY been the cause of abuse and who have inflicted immense suffering but let’s not whitewash over precious history. In removing this memorial, the history of entertainment in Broadstairs will be dented…..

      • LOL he was totally racist. He built his career on taking the mick out of specifically black people.

        That IS racism.

        • Mr Smyth – can you please explain what Uncle Mack did or said that made him a racist ?

          Where, how and when did he take the mick out of black people ?

          Did you ever meet the man or see his act on which to base your opinion ?

        • “Matthew Smyth” – Isn’t it about time you left your mother’s basement and battled the real world, kid? Not limited to but including understanding that it’s 2020 and not the 1880s!

          Seriously though, it’s about time.

        • Matthew “Totally Racist” ? No element of the sincerest form of flattery is imitation ?

          My foster grandfather went to music hall. He would imitate the acts to perform at home. Including when he saw the great black boxer Jack Johnson who the English loved. Jack wore thigh tight shorts and stuffed a cucumber in to show the outline of his superior black manhood “You white boys let your wives loose on dis man you end up following too good an act” And the English shouted “Flash yer gold teeth at us Jack whats it like being able to afford those gnashers”

          And Jack would hold up a bent little finger at the white men who laughed uproariously.

          FFS Jack Lighten up mate.

          “I have a ceiling mirror gentlemen and I assure you I look better black. Especially with a white woman jockey”

        • No he wasn’t, you clearly have not researched uncle Mack and the good work he did, he was not a racist and every single one of the local population who went to see his show and that totals probably over 100000 over his 60 year career were not racist.
          You have labelled him as racist as it suits your ideology, and your perception of him. It’s so easy to stand in judgement of people despite living in different times , with different attitudes, when the world was different. I bet you will never achieve for your community what he did.

          • I still can’t believe the Black & White Minstrels were still on the television as recently as 1979! How would all you bigots out there feel if we were all black, and you remained white, and the black people took the Micky out of you, as Uncle Mack did, and others? No take down everything that glorifies racism, and put them in a museum, where they can be displayed with a suitable explanation as to why they were removed, because they were racists!

        • Dumpton… half the troupe on the black and white minstrels were black…!! But still put the make up to represent that they were performing black and white music…are they racist as well…come on..really..???they wore costumes similar to what minstrels used to wear….Snowflakes say the black people had to take the jobs on the black and white minstrel show as they were less opportunities but not a bad job considering it as viewed by 17 million people each week and were well paid as a result…!!! THEY WERE CALLED THE BLACK AND WHITE MINSTRELS BECAUSE THEY WERE REPRESENTED BY BOTH BLACK AND WHITE PEOPLE SINGING SONGS FROM BLACK ABD WHITE CULTURES….now grow up..!!!

  2. To be honest, this decision is wrong. I would not have expected anything less from TDC following the co-ordinated “coup” from the completely incompetent snowflake Thanet Independents and Labour putting this man in charge. The Thanet Independents have themselves to blame for this.

    Rick Everitt is probably the biggest joke in the entire TDC, especially when he says:

    “It could have stayed in place since the plaque represents what was acceptable a hundred years ago. However this might give the mistaken impression that the council condoned this offensive entertainment and its racist overtones. It is also important that the Leader and the council sends out a clear message to the Thanet community, that it listens and will act to maintain and foster good relations in the community.”

    So well done Thanet Independents. This decision is on you. BLM brigade and Ian Driver has gone way too far.

  3. The council listen to the public! I don’t think so, Only when it suits, pander to the minority as usual, didn’t have the guts to put it to the vote of the residents of the town, half the people wanting it removed had never seen it before or been offended by it.

  4. What a pathetic decision, no thought given as to why the plaque and the bust were commissioned….
    Nothing to do with racism, it was in appreciation of an entertainer, who gave a lot of pleasure to residents and visitors alike many years ago….
    Until now nobody has taken offence,…not until the “virtue signalling “ fools gained voice , demanding that historical artefacts be removed, as they may offend the sad “woke” minority.
    Really .? The vast majority of both residents and visitors were totally unaware of the existence of the said artefacts , until the imagined racist perceptions were suggested…
    Yet another pathetic decision by those who sadly know no better….
    But at least it pleases Mr Ian Driver….An even bigger fool …

  5. I would not be surprised if some sensible persons did not remove the sign themselves and hide it away to be restored when the majority find their voice and demand its reinstatement and stop this madness. These so called BLM are now questioning why the white pieces in chess get to move first. As the Prime Minister keeps telling us, “stay alert” .

  6. If one votes Labour then you can be sure they will discriminate against the hard working law abiding white persons in favour of every other race and colour. If one votes Conservative be it a local councillor or MP there is a real chance they will end up in prison over dodgy property deals or committing perjury or something else as bad.
    I think the black lines on zebra crossings should be removed because it’s not fair that people are walking over them.
    The white lines can stay because they are used to being walked over.

    • In what way do you feel this decision is “discriminating against the hard working law abiding white persons”?

  7. Why can’t this plaque be put in a (very) local museum with an explanatory notice? There is little point in censoring everything-that’s what the Nazis did. More knowledge, putting things in context, is what’s needed.

  8. Should I divorce my wife as she was in the Eddie Payne black and white minstrel troupe?

  9. There was absolutely nothing wrong with the black and white minstrels. The racist slant it totally unfounded.

  10. I think the last few comments show just how out of touch some are in Thanet.
    I do agree however, that a debate is necessary, and not just with the usual angry brigade.

    • George Nokes. Debates can only work when two sides engage with each other. When one side is not prepared to listen to the other there is no debate. If people want to talk about history then all history needs to be taken into account not just the bits that fall into certain movement’s narratives.

      Slavery is a horrendous crime but not only black people have been slaves? How can there be debate about slavery and racism when you are instantly branded a racist for mentioning white slavery ? Dare to mention the Muslim child abuse grooming gangs and your branded a racist. There are other examples of white people being subjected to slavery and racism throughout history but if you dare to mention it your vilified.

      Racism is abhorrent in all it’s forms and unfortunately many people still suffer from it on a daily basis but trying to force people into feeling white guilt will never work it will only have the opposite effect.

      The BLM movement is doing a lot of good but it’s also starting to polarise people. A lot of non racist white people are sick of being vilified and accused of being racist for having an opinion.

      There is social injustice in all of society, it’s not just limited to the BAME community.

      • The blacks had slaves for thousands of years before whites Had slaves,Africa had its own domestic slave trade.for
        Century’s before the white man came along .
        The first early plantation owners to have slaves in America were black not white.something
        B.L.M. DONT want to know. But it’s fact and history. But that doesn’t fit the rhetoric..

  11. What a silly decision, A certain screw loose Driver will think he was right. As most people say you can not, and should delete history. Most people who have a public memorial or statue, have upset a few people along the way. When Uncle Mack was working this was the way of the world, and he made people happy. If we delete our past we will never learn from it. Why don’t we knock down Nelsons Column, in case we offend the French. What about the Nazi dog memorial in London, it might offend all the non Nazi dogs. I can not believe a few Councillors can make this decision without consultation of the local people. I do not know anybody who thinks this is the right decision. They are just running scared of a few vocal Snow flakes. The memorial has been there for years unnoticed leave it alone.

  12. The year Uncle Mack was 36 was 1911. It was the year invasion of Algiers by Italy finally ended slave trade in white slaves. (78 years after UK enforced abolition of slavery in the colonies)

    The Muslim trade in white slaves was rife at the time of Samuel Colston.

    There were more white slaves transported into Africa than black slaves taken out by transatlantic slave trade.

    The EU is far from being first threat to UK fishing. The Muslims for centuries made coastal living and fishing hazardous as their corsairs snatched whites for slaves.

    At the time of Colston Cromwell had ordered that any muslim slaver caught preying on our country be taken to Bristol and drowned slowly

    Don’t pick and choose history on the basis of snowflake Marxist agenda.

    It is equally valid to point out that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. I laugh like hell when Jamaicans imitate Riverdance (Dancing from waist down) but there again half of those are descendants of Irish slaves. Once on the Guinness who cares ?

  13. It just goes to show how petty and delusional some are to suggest that we pick off bits of reminders of history because it does not suit them to remember them. I could suggest that everything to do with Hitler should be removed although I never would because it would be very convenient to many to do so and Hitler we should never forget.

  14. Nobody’s history is completely positive or completely negative. Why can’t we assess our pasts and decide accordingly. Why suggest that,”it’s our history” so any given statue or memorial plaque should stay.
    Personally, I can see why lots of people might dislike a reminder of a man who dressed up as a black man and made fun of real black people. On a personal note, I remember “The Black and White Minstrel Show” on TV when I was a child. I confess, being white and living a sheltered life as a child, I didn’t notice the implied insult in the show. But I DO remember what a dreary load of boring , third-rate,cheap “entertainment” it offered.
    If “Uncle Mack” was anything like that, we should lose any memorial to him on good taste grounds alone.
    As for the demand that the public get asked if a statue or memorial plaque is due to be changed, don’t we elect representatives to Parliament or the Council to make every-day decisions for us. Which Council decisions should be put to a local referendum? All of them? Just some?
    It seems like the local racists are getting very sensitive in their old age, easily outraged and offended if the Council doesn’t act as if Britain’s past is as pure as the driven snow. Who are the “snowflakes ” now?

  15. Council are sheep,why not stand up and do something right for the town . you only lend credibility to the extremists,grow a pair

  16. This is pathetic when I worked in London in the early 70s nobody moaned about the black and white minstrels then I saw them in the top London theatres the audience had mixed culture’s they went for the music and song to listen too I believe the lead singers where white a lot of the chorus were black entertainers themselves.

    • Isn’t that what’s happened? Rick is the leader of a democratically elected council. Also, this decision can still be called in and reconsidered if enough councillors want to do so.

  17. “You can’t rewrite history”

    Exactly. That’s why we want a change to monuments and plaques that ignore the historical impact and both sides of history not just one narrative.

    The snowflakes are those upset that a plaque is going. Raging against anything they don’t understand.

    “Foreigners” “immigration” “rewriting history” whilst not actually meaning any of those. Quite happily using the wrong words.

    Unfortunately Thanet is full of xenophobic, casually racist folk that were let down by a failing education system.

    It’s ok. When history is actually told properly. You can still believe your narrative.

    Shame the comment section is full of those who are so passionate about a plaque being removed and not a real injustice or issue

    • Not impressed…. how dare you imply that Thanet is full of xenophobic, casually racist people, let down by the education system….if you live here and feel like this why do you live here,,…?? and if you don’t live here then you clearly don’t know what you are talking about…you are extremely ignorant and insulting.

    • Oh, look at this “Not impressed” kid, another leftie snowflake that just crawled out of the cracks in the wall.

  18. The people who were in Black and White Minstrels were not racist and pulling fun at blacks at all. In fact they were celebrating the black music which was enjoyed by people of all races. Everyone found it endearing. Nobody accused anyone of being racist back then. What is going on with all this stupidity?
    The council leader is pandering to Ian Driver and his foolish antics over something he obviously knows nothing about. If people only read the facts about these people that they suddenly hate before jumping on the bandwagon! Some of these people are just looking for publicity for their own means because it is the in thing to trash public statues of the past. This is 2020, let the people of Thanet decide instead of the council leader. He should listen to the majorities feelings not the few. History is important, good or bad, it should be learnt.

    • Kent resident spot on your comments as I said in my comments they were not racist it was all about the great music of the American south will they want to remove any monument to Paul Robson the highly respected and loved USA black singer he used to attend miners galas years ago everybody loved his voice these snowflakes want to researc

    • Kent resident you are completely right in your comments, the black and white minstrels wore make up to reflect the fact that they were singing black music and white music. It was another way of expressing the origins of the music they sang. Many black performers were in the black and white minstrels and wore the same make up. Why is it we never hear if any white person been offended by this. The problem today is to much is make of the word offended, and is used when it’s just something you don’t agree with. Unfortunately in society certain ethnic groups have seized upon this and use it at every opportunity they can. Uncle Mack wore make up to reflect the music he sang and to entertain, not to appear racist. It’s ridiculous and ignorant to suggest otherwise.

  19. You country pumpkins in Thanet are not portraying yourself in a very positive light, you can keep sticking one of your 6 fingers in your ears but you need to hear a more balanced version of history.

  20. I have not laughed so much in ages. Born in Ramsgate but moved so many years ago I had forgotten how forthright sarcastic and downright upfront Kentish people are. Mind i still am and classed as a stroppy up myself OAP Yup never gave up my roots. Don’t. Take down the plaque you morons read your history and chuck hot water on those Bloody Snowflakes

  21. Contact your local councillor and express your view regarding a decision being taken without proper public consultation. I certainly will, the Uncle Mack plaque should stay I’m heartily fed up with authority bowing down to noisy and sometimes ignorant groups of people who disrespect our history.

  22. The outcome of all this? Ian Driver has won. Vandalism rules. He will just end up with a slap on the wrist. The Uncle Mack plaque will go into TDC “storage” and will then be mysteriously misplaced, never to be found again. Mark my words, it’s what Councils always do. The mob has won.

  23. Perhaps it could be part of the outdoor sculpture park on Ramsgate’s Westcliff, along with statues of slave-owners, cruel dictators etc, which our local MP recently suggested. (Or was he being ironic? Hard to tell sometimes.)

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