Flemington ‘White History Month’ Flap Ends with Apology

Rick Epstein, Hunterdon County Democrat, March 6, 2015

Those who chose sides in yesterday’s racial rift over a “White History Month” sign in a Main Street deli window may be disappointed. The proprietor of Jimbo’s Deli, Jim Boggess, has taken down the sign and apologized to Bhakti Curtis, the customer who had been offended by it.

Curtis in turn, accepted the apology and suggested that he and Boggess pose for a photo showing the restoration of harmony at least in this little corner of the world.

The controversy started when Boggess posted a hand-lettered sign in his deli window saying: CELEBRATE YOUR WHITE HERITAGE IN MARCH, WHITE HISTORY MONTH. Curtis, who is bi-racial, was offended and asked him to take it down, but Boggess refused. Curtis complained to the borough police, who decided that Boggess was within his rights.

{snip}

Despite all the disclaimers of love, when the story of the conflict went public yesterday on NJ.com, it accrued more than 500 comments, most of them denouncing either Boggess or Curtis.

Both Boggess and Curtis were appalled by the volume and hostility of the response. Jimbo’s does not have a business phone, but Curtis’ dismay was increased by a number of threatening and abusive phone calls and emails. {snip}

This morning, the White History sign was nowhere to be seen. Boggess said, “I never meant it to be a black/white thing. I only meant it to be a white thing.” But some people “twisted the meaning” of the sign, and he was upset by what they were writing about Curtis, who has been his friendly acquaintance for some time.

“It was never my intent to draw so much attention,” said Curtis, “but I felt I had to speak up.”

{snip}

Topics:

Share This

We welcome comments that add information or perspective, and we encourage polite debate. If you log in with a social media account, your comment should appear immediately. If you prefer to remain anonymous, you may comment as a guest, using a name and an e-mail address of convenience. Your comment will be moderated.