On Wednesday, NPR reported that a Progressive-affiliated insurance agency in Maine is facing backlash for a racist sign put up about Juneteenth, the holiday that commemorates when the last chattel slaves were freed in Texas.
"Residents in the town of Millinocket, Maine, say they are outraged and disappointed after a local insurance agency displayed a racist sign remarking on the Juneteenth holiday," reported Jonathan Franklin. "'Juneteenth ~it's whatever... We're closed. Enjoy your fried chicken & collard greens,' the sign stated in a large font. It was taped to the front of Harry E. Reed Insurance Agency in Millinocket on Monday. The small town sits about three hours outside Portland and some 50 miles away from the U.S.-Canada border."
"An image of the racist sign was shared online Monday, gaining the attention of thousands across social media. Millinocket resident Alura Stillwagon originally posted the image on Facebook with a caption reading, 'The racism in Millinocket is real,'" said the report. "Stillwagon, who first heard about the sign from her mother, Lisa Groelly, says she had to do a double take when seeing an image of it."
Angry people have flooded the insurance agency with one-star reviews on Yelp, and Millinocket town council chair Steve Golieb stated on Facebook, "It is deeply saddening, disgraceful and unacceptable for any person, business, or organization to attempt to make light of Juneteenth and what it represents for millions of slaves and their living descendants. There is no place in the Town of Millinocket for such a blatant disregard of human decency."
Juneteenth was only made a federal holiday last year, by an act of Congress.
Subsequently, the holiday has received far more attention in national media, but its celebrators have been increasingly targeted by intimidation and threats. In Tennessee, a mob of "White Lives Matter" protesters descended on a Juneteenth festival decked in weapons and ballistic vests.