A sign on the door of Yeanon Cafe, on Bank Street, tells customers: “I am a black woman… If you are allergic to black people, don’t come in.”
And mother-of-three Martha-Renee Kolleh, who runs the cafe, said she put it there because she was hurt by the way some people reacted when they walked in.
She said: “Sometimes people just turn around and walk straight out, other times they’ll say they got the wrong place.
“Sometimes they tell me they are going to withdraw some cash and then they just don’t come back.
“I put the sign up because I can’t stand them coming in and then leaving when they see I am black.”
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.”
Martha-Renee Kolleh, a single mother-of-three, has run the Yeanon Café for two years but could be forced to close by autumn if her business does not improve. Ms Kolleh said she would have to close the cafe if her takings remained low.
The café, based in Ossett town centre, serves a mixture of British, African and Caribbean cuisine.
Figures for ethnicity from the 2001 Census show that Ossett’s population is 98.9 per cent white.
Ms Kolleh said that she put the sign up because of the way some customers had reacted to her when they enter.
“When they open the door they will expect to see a black face,” she said during an interview with BBC Radio Leeds.
She said: “I put [the sign] there because of the way people treat me in Ossett.
”They just open the door of my cafe and once they take a look at me they walk out.“
Her sign has received mixed reactions from residents in the area.
“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,” she said.
“And some others just read it and walk away. I’ve heard one or two swear words as well regarding the notice.”
The cafe’s Facebook page has been inundated with messages of support from people across the country. One Leeds resident said she would continue to tell everyone about the “wonderful food” served there.”Was so saddened to find out about your troubles and the need for the notice you’ve put on your door. Haven’t seen you in a little while as I’ve been so busy and not up in Ossett nearly so much, but hope to see you soon.”
Another said: “Beautiful talented lady, please go on providing some of the most delicious food in the world! God bless you and may you and your business flourish.”
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