The Black Boy pubs in Bury St Edmunds, Sudbury and Shinfield will all be renamed, as will The Black’s Head in Wirksworth.
The new names will be decided through an online public vote, giving communities the opportunity to pick new names from a list of suggestions.
Following detailed consultations with a range of stakeholders and research into the pubs’ histories, Greene King concluded that whilst 'The Black Boy' is a name used for pubs throughout the country, there wasn’t a consensus on its origin, and many felt the name to be offensive and discriminatory.
The move is part of Greene King’s inclusion and diversity strategy to champion equality and diversity in the company.
Last year the group – which was founded in the in the early 19th century by Benjamin Greene, one of 47,000 people who benefited from the UK Government’s decision to compensate Britons when slavery was abolished in 1833 – apologised for its historic links to the slave trade.
It was revealed that the group had received nearly £500,000 in today’s money when Greene surrendered rights to three plantations in the West Indies, and the group has since pledged to make a 'substantial investment' to benefit the BAME community and support race diversity in the business.
“It is important to acknowledge our history but just as important to work proactively to eradicate racism in our society today," said Greene King CEO Nick Mackenzie.
“We have looked at pub deeds, consulted with colleagues and while the origins of these pub names are obscure, what is clear is there is a perception they are linked with racism today and we want to make this positive change for the better.
“We know this is a decision that will attract a range of views and we are conscious of the history and heritage of pub names.
“We have thought long and hard and fell this is the right thing to do as it is incredibly important to us our pubs are warm and welcoming places for everyone as we continue on our journey to become a truly anti-racist organisation.
“We are keen to involve local people in this project and look forward to working with them to choose a new and inclusive name for these pubs so they remain at the heart of communities.”