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Café owner puts up sign telling customers she is black

THE OWNER of a café in West Yorkshire says she was so fed up with customers leaving her establishment once they realised she was black, she placed a sign on the door alerting them to the fact before they stepped in.

Martha-Renée Kolleh, a single-mother-of three, has been running the Yeanon Cafe in Ossett, West Yorkshire, for two years, but was forced to take drastic action after months of abuse.

The sign reads: "Attention! Everyone be aware. I am a black woman, and always will be. If you are allergic to black people, don't come in."

"I put [the sign] there because of the way people treat me in Ossett. When they open the door they will expect to see a black face,” she told BBC Radio Leeds.


FRANK: Martha-Renée Kolleh grew tired of diners leaving once they realised she wasn't white

Kolleh, who serves a mixture of British, African and Caribbean food, says reaction to her bold approach has been mixed, revealing that some people have resorted to swearing.

She said: "Some people find it amusing, they were laughing and said 'oh yes it's about time you put that up', so I think they all realise what's going on here. I've heard one or two swear words as well regarding the notice."

Figures from the 2011 Census show that of Ossett's population of 16,116, 97.5 percent (15,724) were recorded as white.

Ms Kolleh said that although she had received a lot of support from the people of Ossett, if business did not improve she would have to close by autumn.

Local councillor Tony Richardson said he was "shocked" as he did not believe racism was widespread in the town.

A spokesman for Wakefield Council said they were "obviously concerned" by this issue, which they have just been made unaware of, and urged Kolleh “to get in touch as soon as possible."

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