An Abbotsford business man is under fire for posting a ‘No negroes allowed’ sign in his future gentlemen’s club. The sign excluding black people is enraging residents of this small town in Wisconsin.
The Clark County business man, Mark Prior, says its his right to discriminate. “If I’ve got a problem with you it’s going to be on the front of my store,” he says.
The gentlemen’s club Prior wants to open is in a building next to the Abbotsford city hall and library. A city official asked him to remove the sign, which was previously outside the establishment but he kept it and placed it inside the club instead.
This sign is one which generations of people may have never seen, and many wished they would never have to see again. Federal and State law says that if the business is open to the public then prohibiting people to enter it based on race, is illegal. However, if the proposed gentlemen’s club is private, then he technically could discriminate.
The sign was posted because Prior has allegedly had issues with black people in the past, and decided to make a policy against them. Apparently it is not just black people that he has issues with. Prior says that he has a problem with others as well, but could not post a lengthy list of names outside his establishment, and opted instead to post the ‘No Negroes Allowed’ sign.
“I’m going to stick to my guns because I think I have the right as a business owner to reject service to anyone. It’s not all the black people, there are just a few bad ones,” Prior says.
People in Abbotsford say it’s a sign they don’t welcome in their town. However, Prior says it’s his right as an American and as a business owner to decide who’s welcome; a right he says he’ll take all the way to court if he has to.
“It’s insulting to think that someone automatically sees your skin color and thinks that you’re inferior and that you’re not fit to be around. On the other hand, if they’re of this kind of intelligence, I’m not going to worry about it too much,” says Dr. Selika Ducksworth-Lawton, an African American historian at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
Ducksworth-Lawton says the second he opens his business, he’ll be in violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Prior’s gentlemen’s club is set to open to the public Friday, however this business man’s previous endeavors, (a grocery store and his own sheriff’s department), have not worked out in the past.