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.”