05:00PM, Friday 03 July 2020
A sign on a Cookham Dean pub which depicts a black slave is to be replaced in the coming weeks.
Uncle Tom’s Cabin, in Hills Lane, is named after a novel written by American abolitionist and author, Harriet Beecher Stowe, published in 1852.
The book is believed to have been a catalyst for the American Civil War due to its profound effect on attitudes toward African Americans and slavery in the United States at that time.
But the book was later criticised for popularising stereotypes about black people, and the title character’s name is often associated with derogatory insults.
The image on the pub sign is taken from an edition of the book which featured the character of Uncle Tom, a long-suffering black slave.
Following the recent Black Lives Matters (BLM) protests, Cookham resident Sam Sethi felt now was the right time to replace it and made an approach to the pub’s landlord, Luis Blake.
Sam said: “The sign was the only thing that really offended me – the name, the book itself is an anti-slavery book. They say never judge a book by its cover and its very true for that book.”
But Sam feels the sign is ‘a bit dated now’.
“I can imagine it was done innocently, and without malice,” he added.
“I’m not saying somebody did it for a racial reason at all, but when it was done – probably 50 years ago – times were different, and times have moved on, and I just think remove the sign, it doesn’t need to be there.”
Landlord of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Luis Blake said: “A new sign will be installed within the next few weeks.
“In line with the wishes of the local community, there are no plans to change the name of the pub which has had its current name since the early 1900s.”
Sam said: “Change is happening, and its micro-changes, but it is happening, and this is just an example of a good micro-change.”
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