The term “Sambo” is a long-standing tribal flood with roots going back to a 1899 book about a dark-skinned boy from South India. The name became an adjective against African Americans.
The restaurant’s sign has been covered, at least temporarily, with a peace sign, a symbol and a word of “love” for Peace and Love.
“Our family has examined our hearts and realized that we need to be sensitive when others we respect make strong appeals,” the owners said. “So today we stand in solidarity with those who seek change and do their part as best we can.”
Owner Chad Stevens said its founders – Sam Battistone’s grandfather and Newell “Bo” partner Bohnett – created the name of the restaurant from parts of their names.
Stevens agreed to change his name after hearing from Rashelle Monet.
“Even though it didn’t come from a bad spot, it’s still a very painful term for many people,” Monet said. “I understand that it was not appropriate. I am not saying that Sambo and their owners are racist. I am saying that slander is racist.”
Stevens said it was time for a change.
“With the current environment of our country, we must unite and, as the sign says, peace and love,” he said.