EDINBURGH — Jim Crow-era memorabilia placed throughout Indiana Rep. Greg Pence’s Edinburgh mall have faced renewed scrutiny from his district, even making national headlines.
Community members say they have complained about the sale of these items that make a mockery of Black stereotypes at the “Exit 76 Antique Mall” for nearly 12 years, according to ABC News. The Pence’s bought the mall in 2006, two years before becoming a U.S. representative.
Items such as a coin bank featuring an exaggerated, straw-hatted Black-figure biting down on a watermelon, a “Mammy” biscuit jars depicting smiling Black enslaved women, and more were photographed and posted on Facebook recently, quickly gaining traction.
“Most Black people I know are offended by these items and are horrified that they are being sold anywhere, much less in a place of business owned by a United States Congressman,” Jeannine Lee Lake, Pence’s Democratic opponent for Indiana’s 6th Congressional District, said. Lake made the post that was the stemming point for many critics to start speaking up again.
Lake lost to Congressman Pence, Vice President Mike Pence’s brother, in the 2018 general election.
As America faces its own racial reckoning this year, Lee feels Pence all but missed his mark on combating racism that he can control on his own turf.
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