During the publication of its annual calendar, Reading Municipal Light published a photograph that the company now said is "culturally insensitive," leading to an apology.
The image used for the calendar depicts the Martins Pond Social Club at their clubhouse on Lakeside Boulevard, North Reading.
They would apparently wrap up their summer season every year around Labor Day with the minstrel show.
"Members vied for the solo in the closing number," said the calendar's September page, adding in an almost nostalgic tone that "During these performances, the festively decorated clubhouse was filled to capacity with appreciative crowds."
One can read how the participants "bantered" at these shows, as well as the fact that they were later directed by a couple of retired vaudeville sisters. What one does not read about in the calendar's text is the way such conduct and images are generally perceived in the year 2012.
To read more about the minstrel shows, you canlog on to Lynnfield Patch for an article written by Local Editor William LaForme.
Reading Municipal Light Department Issues Apology
The Reading Municipal Light Department (RMLD) deeply regrets the use of a culturally insensitive picture that was included in the RMLD 2012 historical calendar. The picture, which is attached to the month of September, is a photograph of members of a minstrel show held in North Reading in 1924.
RMLD apologizes to its customers and other individuals who have been offended by this culturally insensitive portrayal. This is not a message RMLD supports. RMLD strongly encourages and is committed to diversity and inclusion.
RMLD plans to reinforce and enhance its internal training related to diversity in the workplace and will create a diversity committee to review future RMLD projects to ensure that this insensitivity does not reoccur.
Once again, RMLD extends its deepest apologies to anyone who was offended by this picture.