This Antique Sign Is Causing Controversy in Mansfield, Mass. - NBC10 Boston

This Antique Sign Is Causing Controversy in Mansfield, Mass.

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    Controversy Over Vintage Sign in Mansfield

    Hundreds of people have signed an online petition to remove a vintage sign depicting two black men at a store in Mansfield, Massachusetts.

    (Published Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018)

    A sign inside an antique store is the subject of a controversy that has people in Mansfield, Massachusetts, stirred up.

    The sign, a tobacco advertisement from the early 1900s, hangs in the Old Country Store and Emporium. It depicts two black men with exaggerated, stereotypical features.

    Mansfield resident Nicole Burch saw the sign when she visited the store recently and spearheaded a charge to get the store's owner, Chris Baker, to remove it.

    "The community is diverse," Burch said, "and everyone's feelings matter."

    Burch said she has been on the receiving end of harassing phone calls and social media posts since starting an online petition to boycott the store, but said she isn't deterred by the backlash. Hundreds of people have signed the petition.

    "This is my hope, that the Mansfield community would support the black community," Burch said.

    Many customers in the store Thursday did not find fault with the sign, and one woman said that if people don't like the sign, they shouldn't come into the store.

    Baker provided no comment on the matter.

    Burch said she hopes to compromise with Baker and see an explanation of historical context added next to the sign.

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