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March 7, 2011

Letter to the Editor: A little history on the Sambo's restaurant name

I'm a big fan of the Daily Journal of Commerce, and I enjoy reading (The Buzz) column. In the Feb. 24 edition, you asked who would name a restaurant Sambo's? If your names were Sam Battistone and Newell Bohnett and you lived in Southern California in 1957, you would.

Then with the inevitable association with an 1899 children's book named “The Story of Little Black Sambo” about a boy is Southern India, and using illustrations in the restaurant showing a dark-skinned boy, tigers, and a unicycle riding man called “The Treefriend” eventually there were concerns about racism and most of the restaurants changed names or were sold by 1983.

Thanks for the Seattle history moment!

Laura Grove


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