Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Joe's Crab Shack and an actual photo of a lynching used as "decoration."

“The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.”
― George Orwell

Some stories are too ridiculous for words. This is one of them.


It’s not uncommon for restaurants to incorporate black-and-white photographs into their overall interior design and atmosphere. These images can depict any range of events, from periods in local history to sports championships. They are meant to add to a restaurant’s ambiance and support its unique story as a brand, but, in the case of a Joe’s Crab Shack in Minnesota, the restaurant should have paid closer attention to what it was putting on its walls and tables.

During a recent visit to Joe’s Crab Shack in Roseville, Minnesota, customers Tyrone Williams and Chauntyll Allen discovered that their tabletop had a photo embedded in it that was both shocking and disturbing. The graphic image depicted two black men being lynched by an angry mob. To make matters worse, it had a cartoon speech bubble that read, “All I said was that I didn’t like the gumbo.”

After doing some quick research, the couple learned that the photo was from a real-life execution that occurred in 1896. Given the racial injustice that existed during that period of time, it was typical to pin crimes on black men. Independent of its historical provenance, I think we can all agree that such images have no place in any restaurant.

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