Nooses are showing up more in hate incidents throughout the United States. Nooses were discovered in the past week at two museums in the nation’s capital, including the new African-American history museum. Nooses were found hanging from trees at the state Capitol in Jackson, Mississippi on Monday. They are “hate signs,” but the content appears to be that of political nature.
The hangman’s noose has come to be one of the most powerful visual symbols directed against African American people and evokes racial history, hatred and bigotry. Its origins are connected to the history of lynching in America, particularly in the South after the Civil War, when violence or threats of violence replaced slavery as one of the main forms of social control that white people used against African American people. The surge in recent incidents is disturbing and reflects a general increase of hate symbols.
The noose is used as a form of intimidation and It is illegal to display a noose in a threatening manner in Virginia, New York and Connecticut. But what about Mississippi?
Currently, Mississippi is in the middle of a runoff in the midterm elections for the Senate race and Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith thought she would win by a landslide.
So today in the state of Mississippi voters will decide between Hyde-Smith and Democrat Mike Espy, who, if elected, would be the state’s first black senator since Reconstruction.
President Donald Trump, anxious to finish out the 2018 campaign season with a Republican victory, urged voters to turn out for Hyde-Smith in a tweet Tuesday. However, when video emerged online of Hyde-Smith telling supporters earlier this month that she’d be “on the front row” if one of her supporters there “invited me to a public hanging.” brought memories of Mississippi’s history of lynchings to the forefront and put the contest under the national microscope.
Hyde-Smith later called the comments an “exaggerated expression of regard,” but her use of the phrase “public hanging” is the same ignited rhetoric invoking hate crimes and incidents throughout this country.