Metro East mechanic says coworker put Blackface doll in his toolbox at local auto center

Published: Jul. 21, 2022 at 10:20 PM CDT
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CENTREVILLE, IL. (KMOV) -A St. Clair County man tells News 4 a racist discovery at work has scarred him for life.

The African American mechanic says a white doll’s face desecrated in Blackface was put in his toolbox at America’s Auto Center in Centreville.

“The doll was all white and they painted the face black,” Donovan Hickman, the victim, said. “The initials WP was on it which stands for white power.”

America’s Auto Center says they are investigating what happened and has implemented sensitivity training for all employees.

“I want this place to stop how they treat Black people and I’m putting a stand to it today,” Hickman says.

The business released the following statement Thursday:

“The company is deeply concerned by this incident as harassment in any form is not tolerated. The expectations of all employees is to work in a manner that prevents harassment in the workplace.”

“They offered me a different position thinking that’s going to fix everything,” says Hickman. “A different position is not going to fix nothing.”

The act of Blackface dates back to the mid-1800s after the Civil War. White actors would paint their faces black to dehumanize, taunt and demean African Americans.

“It hurts. My heart is crushed,” Hickman says. “You’re a (expletive) coward.”

Hickman says the doll isn’t the first time he’s been targeted at the auto center.

“Someone put grease under my door handle and thought it was funny,” he said.

He also claims a coworker laughed at him after handing him a lighter of a monkey with a banana on it.

“For this to happen down here in Centreville it’s very disturbing to me. No one should have to go through this,” he said.

Hickman is now looking for a new job in his search for answers and accountability.

“We will get justice,” he said.

The company’s general manager would not tell News 4 what consequences the person responsible could face.

However, he did say the company has a zero-tolerance harassment policy and will review its policies and procedures.