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Foster's tavern in Rhinebeck takes down offensive, racist imagery

Aug 11, 2020 6:30 am
Patricia R. Doxsey is reporting for the Daily Freeman Rhinebeck's Foster's Coach House Tavern has taken down racist depictions of black people from its walls, hours after the author and podcaster Touré tweeted a photo of what he called "an insanely racist" carved wood wall hanging to his 216,000 Twitter followers. The restaurant has been a village mainstay for more than a century. On its Facebook page and in a statement to the Freeman, Foster's wrote: "Certain artwork has made our patrons uncomfortable and in order to be sensitive to our customers and community we have chosen to remove the artwork. Foster’s has been on the record in its support of peaceful assembly voicing civil rights and equality. We look forward to continuing our service to the community which we have done for over 130 years," the statement continued. The wood carving that was removed is a depiction of an 1892 illustration by Thomas Worth titled "Speeding On The Darktown Track" created for the Darktown comic series by Courier and Ives. In a series of tweets August 9, Touré posted a photo of the wall hanging, which he described as "a black man with huge lips and bugged out eyes, being dragged by a horse and plow." He then detailed his encounter with employees and a manager of the eatery about the piece. Touré said he noticed the carving when he went into the restaurant to pick up an order. "I said the food here is fine, but why is this insanely racist statue on the wall in the dining room? Is that what y'all are about?" he posted. Touré said the manager denied the wall hanging was racist, and she defended it as art and history. Foster's Coach House Tavern first opened in 1890 as the Village Tavern. It has been owned since 2017 by Neil and Elijah Bender, who continue to operate it. Neil Bender is a developer who owns several buildings in Uptown Kingston. Read the full story in the Daily Freeman.