So many nooses, so little time


A noose is found in the Hempstead Police Department locker room.

SUNDAY, OCT. 7 In Richmond Hill, a woman is arrested after police say she hung a noose from a tree in her backyard

TUESDAY, OCT. 9 A noose is found hanging from the office door of a Columbia University professor.

THURSDAY, OCT. 11 A noose is found dangling outside a post office near Ground Zero in Manhattan.

Newsday (click here for article) – “Word that two nooses had been found in a Hempstead Town garage came down hard in the mainly minority community of Roosevelt yesterday.

Town Councilwoman Dorothy Goosby said it reminded her of a distant relative lynched in Georgia.

Val Tripp, 64, said it brought back the fear she lived with growing up in Evergreen, Ala.

And Darren Bryant, the first to report the nooses dangling from the back of a yellow forklift – one with a tarred stuffed animal hanging from the end – said it didn’t register as a mere prank.

The Roosevelt incident comes after the Sept. 28 discovery of a noose in the basement locker room of the Village of Hempstead Police Department. Residents were stunned when it was reported that the noose was directed at Deputy Chief Willie Dixon, who is black. The U.S. Department of Justice and Nassau County are investigating.

The discovery marks the fifth incident in less than a month that a noose has been displayed in public in the area.

A noose was found hanging on the office door of a black professor at Columbia University Oct. 9, and another was found outside a post office near Ground Zero later last week.

And on Oct. 7, a white Richmond Hill teen was charged with aggravated harassment for allegedly taunting a black neighbor with a noose.

In a statement, acting U.S. Attorney General Peter Keisler called the acts shameful and said the Department of Justice and the FBI, in cooperation with state and local authorities, are investigating.

The seeming prevalence of nooses in the wake of those found in Jena, La., last year and the protests that followed have prompted some to speculate that the more recent discoveries are “copycat” incidents.

Even so, the racially charged image remains disturbing.”


Filed under african american, angry, black, crime, culture, hate, injustice, news, race, racism, why

3 responses to “So many nooses, so little time

  1. Blair

    A few years ago, a revival of interest in the music of Billie Holiday and her song, “Strange Fruit,” generated articles that drew attention to the “lynch law” era that predated the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s, but these articles appeared mostly in scholarly journals, which most American read. Copycat noose-hangings are now occurring across the country because few people associated nooses with racist sentiments until the Jena High School incident created national headlines.

    Nooses can be racist or not, depending on the context. The hangman noose has been a symbol of dread and foreboding since the middile ages. It’s the card you don’t want to draw from a pack of Tarot cards. Hangman nooses have been incorporated into Halloween displays for decades. (Halloween Magazine even post instructions for tying nooses on its website.) A few years ago, a woman committed suicide by hanging herself from a tree in her front yard. Unfortunately, she chose Halloween eve to end her life. Her body dangled for days in full view of passerbys who thought it was part of the Halloween decorations. Today, she would be cut down and charged with a hate crime.

    Are we to ban such classic western movies as :Lonesome Dove,” “The Hanging Tree,” and “The Oxbow Incident” simply because nooses play an impprtant role in them. The hunt for nooses is turning into a witch hunt with often ludricous results. The U.S. Army announced yesterday that it had ended its investigation into a noose-hanging incident at Anniston Army Depot. The “noose” turned out to have been a tie-day that had fallen off a truck delivering supplies to the installation.

  2. I understand what you’re saying Blair, but honestly…As an African American woman I’m quite clear on the predominant thoughts and images that come into my mind when I think of a noose. Your first paragraph…I wonder is you’re african american or not…and I assume not (although you might be). Black people have been very very interested in the subject of Lynching for quite sometime. No revivial was needed. Popular culture may have experienced a revival on the topic, but not the African American communtiy. The subject is a mainstay. Something discussed at family gatherings like family reunions…along with relatives in jail, sharecropping, and when relatives made the move from down south to up north. We didn’t forget lynching and someone, some news story reminded us. It is part of OUR culture and MOST of us are very aware of it’s legacy.

  3. Blair

    Actually, I grew up white in East Texas not far from Jena, Lousiana. We had a legendary hanging tree in our hometown, but the only person lynched from it was a white man who had chopped up his family with an axe. A lynch mob drug him out of the narby county jail in the early 1900s. During the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, we thought of burning crosses, not nooses, as racist symbols. Had the general public been aware that nooses are regarded as racist symbols, we would have been seeing more noose-hanging incidents before the Jena incident.

    My point is that the hangman’s noose is not exclusively a racist symbol. It depends on the context in which they are displayed. I don’t think hangman nooses should be part of Halloween displays because most trick or treaters are small children and nooses seem a little too grotesque. Oddly, nearly all the copycat noose hangings are happening in states outside the south.

    Hate crimes make headlines but they are statistically insignificant. We could probablyu put all the people convicted of violent hate crimes in a single cell block. Attending newly integrated schools in the early 1960s, in small towns like Jena, I never saw a single interracial fight. Our black classmates were never in trouble with the law; perhaps because they were too busy singing in the church choir. In the 1990s, my nephews and nieces, who grew up in larger cities, stopped attending high school football games because of the interracial violence that went on beneath the stands. Something has changed in black culture since then to create the flood of black males into the criminal justice system.


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