Republican lawmaker Greg Pence criticized for co-ownership of store selling racist antiques

Rep. Greg PenceGregory Joseph PenceRepublican lawmaker Greg Pence criticized for co-ownership of store selling racist antiques The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Cure Violence Global founder Gary Slutkin says violence and epidemics follow same patterns; Global death toll surpasses half a million House GOP lawmakers defy new mask requirement MORE (R-Ind.), Vice President Pence's older brother, received criticism after it was revealed that an Indiana antique mall that he co-owns had multiple racist antiques for sale.

In July, during visits to the Exit 76 Antique Mall — located in Edinburgh, Ind. — a reporter from The Associated Press saw multiple instances of Jim Crow-era memorabilia, such as a coin bank that features a straw-hatted Black figure biting down on a watermelon. 

Jeannine Lee Lake, Pence's Democratic challenger this fall, told the AP that the sale of racist antiques was brought to her attention by a woman who used to live near the mall.

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Lake said that she visited the store in June and saw “rows and rows” of items that mocked "Black skin, displaying protruding lips and having bugged out eyes.”

"It made me want to cry,” Lake, who is Black, said.

Pence defeated Lake handily in 2018 and is expected to do so again in November.

Greg Pence has distanced himself from the store.

"As you may know, Congressman Pence is not engaged in the active management of the Exit 76 Antique Mall," spokesperson Milly Lothian told The Star Press.

Systemic racism in America has remained at the forefront of national discourse this summer after a white Minneapolis police officer killed George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, at the end of May.

In a response to the wire service, the mall's onsite manager emailed a statement citing the business' “Offensive Material Policy," which prohibits merchandise that “promote or glorify hatred, violence, racial, sexual or religious intolerance” and prohibits “racially or ethnically offensive language, historical items, reproductions, and works of art and media.”