Following news that an 8-year-old New Hampshire boy was nearly lynched by a group of White teens, we examine the history of lynching and the recent cases that involve nooses.
Lynching and noose intimidation is a practice as old as America.
And the recent attempted lynching of an 8-year-old in a New Hampshire town has sent shock waves across the country. The incident occurred in late August when a group of White teens attacked the boy by putting a rope behind his neck and pushing him off a picnic table in Claremont.
They were also yelling racial slurs.
The image or mere presence of a noose sends an intended message to Black people. It is meant to stir up thoughts and fears of a time when Black people were regularly lynched by White mobs. It's racial terrorism to keep Black folks in their place. And it's a reminder of the violence we have and continue to endure at the hands of White supremacy.
Time has not spurned the end of racially-motivated behavior associated with the noose and it isn’t the first time in recent years that a young Black person has been injured or intimated with a noose in the United States. Here are five recent stories about attempted lynching’s and noose intimidation:
The family of a 12-year-old Black girl filed a $3 million lawsuit in June of 2016 after White students wrapped a rope around her neck and pulled her to the ground. The lawsuit accused Live Oak Classical School in Waco, TX of negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Before the incident, the child’s mother also alleges that her child encountered bullying at the school that wasn’t addressed. The school claimed the injuries the child suffered were the result of an accident. But Levi McCathern, the family’s attorney disagreed.
“Based on the injuries KP sustained, it’s nearly impossible to argue that this was somehow an accident that could have happened to any child that day, regardless of race. The severity and the specificity of the injury certainly point to this incident being racial.”
In October 2016, several White high school students in Mississippi placed a noose around a Black student’s neck and yanked it. The incident happened to a sophomore football player at Stone High School in Wiggins, MS in a locker room when a group of up to four students threw the noose over his head and pulled it backwards. The student wasn’t hurt, but was reportedly terrified. The President of the Mississippi chapter of the NAACP Derrick Johnson called for a federal probe in the incident.
“No child should be walking down the hall or in a locker room and be accosted with a noose around their neck. This is 2016, not 1916. This is America. This is a place where children should go to school and feel safe in their environment,” he said.
Mission Viejo, CA
During a 2014 school trip to Riley’s Farm, a farm which recreates historical events from the Civil War, a teacher placed a noose around a Black child’s neck. The teacher, Renee Schulz, was placed on leave while investigators looked into the case. The child’s mother said this incident was one of several instances of racist behavior that occurred at Oxford Preparatory Academy.
She also claimed she had two conversations with the principal that went nowhere. According to the child, Schulz volunteered the young Black child to demonstrate what a hanging a looks like. "My child was the only child in his classroom who did not volunteer but was called up. I don’t care that the other students did it. None of them are African-American. Their culture has not been victimized and traumatized. That’s disgusting," she said.
A disturbing incident took place before the election last year at Canisius College in Buffalo, NY. A Black doll was found hung in an elevator in one of the college dorms. Students on campus say they were told the incident was between roommates but added the school wasn’t being forthright about the racial climate on campus at Canisius College. Student Jacquie Sagasta said of the explanation, “By hanging a Black baby doll in your window, you are not keeping anything between your roommate.”
Just as recent as this summer, several nooses appeared around the nation’s capital, including inside the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture. Bananas were tied to nooses at American University in Washington, while nooses were also found at the University of Maryland and a middle school in Crofton, MD. The Southern Poverty Law Center said there has been a rise in hate incidents since the election of President Donald Trump.
Community members in D.C have rallied for an increased police presence.