- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 5, 2015

The sign on a Main Street deli that celebrates “White History Month” is creating a stir in Flemington, New Jersey.

Jim Boggess, who owns Jimbo’s Deli at 22 Main St., keeps a copy of the Bill of Rights at the ready and says he’s a champion of free speech. A sign at the front of his establishment reads, “Celebrate your white heritage in March, White History Month,” the Hunterdon County Democrat reported.

“No matter what you are — Muslim, Jewish, black, white, gay, straight — you should be proud of what you are,” Mr. Boggess told the paper. “I shouldn’t have to feel bad about being white.”

But a neighbor and former customer, Bhakti Curtis, who is biracial, said the sign is “mocking Black History Month, ” The Democrat reported.

“A business can’t go putting racist signs in the window because everybody has a right to go in that store — everybody,” Mr. Curtis said, “and have a right to buy something from that man and not feel demoralized or degraded.”

Mr. Curtis filed a complaint with Flemington police that said the sign is “racist” and harassing. Police followed up on the sign and determined that no further action should be taken.

Mr. Boggess said Wednesday that he intends to keep the sign up for as long as possible.

John Puckett, owner of the Main Street Bagel Co. a couple doors away from Jimbo’s Deli, said the sign is “an embarrassment” to Flemington “and makes us look like a town full of inbreds,” The Democrat reported.

Mr. Boggess retorted: “If there’s any racial discrimination going on, it’s by people who are objecting to his sign because I’m white.”

“I just want to be included. Why is this such a big deal? I don’t get it,” Mr. Boggess added. “I love everybody, and everybody should celebrate what they are.”

On Wednesday, Mr. Curtis allegedly got into a heated argument with Sgt. William Svard and Police Chief George Becker inside Cocco’s Cafe over Mr. Boggess’ sign

Mr. Curtis went to the Hunterdon County Prosecutor’s Office to file a complaint that he had been unfairly threatened with arrest.

“You can’t use authority like that,” he told The Democrat. “I’m big and black and have a loud voice, but that’s not against the law.”

Because of the involvement of the Prosecutor’s Office, Sgt. Svard said he could not comment yet on what transpired at Cocco’s, The Democrat reported.

Mr. Curtis said he was going to see a lawyer to talk about whether his civil rights have been violated by the police or the sign, the paper reported.

Jimbo’s Deli has earned mixed reviews on Yelp since the controversy. Some reviewers called Mr. Boggess a “pig” and a “bigot,” while others supported the owner’s right to free speech.

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