Nooses, Signs to Protest Mississippi's Racist History Found at State Capitol
"On Tuesday Nov. 27, thousands of Mississippians will vote for a senator. We need someone who respects the lives of lynch victims," one sign said.
Seven nooses were found at the Mississippi State Capitol on Monday.
The nooses were discovered one day before the U.S. Senate runoff between Republican incumbent Cindy Hyde-Smith and former Democratic congressman Mike Espy, a Black candidate.
Recently, Hyde-Smith has been blasted for making problematic comments about a "public hanging," and for taking pictures in Confederate regalia.
According to the NAACP, "Mississippi had the highest lynchings from 1882-1968 with 581."
Apparently, the signs, which accompanied the nooses, were created to bring awareness of the state's extensive racist history. The Mississippi Department of Public Safety posted photos on the signs on its Facebook account, along with a request for tips that would lead to the perpetrators.
Another sign read: "On Tuesday Nov. 27, thousands of Mississippians will vote for a senator. We need someone who respects the lives of lynch victims."
Although the intentions seem "well-meaning," hanging nooses from a tree is not only a painful trigger for Black Americans, but it's extremely inappropriate.
U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst issued the following statement, in response to the nooses and signs found this morning outside the Mississippi State Capitol:
"With our law enforcement partners, we are actively looking into these acts of hate and intimidation. Let me be perfectly clear - there is absolutely no place in our state for these unacceptable symbols or tactics to intimidate others. If we find evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that a federal crime has occurred, these criminals will be swiftly prosecuted and held accountable. Let us all respond to these despicable acts by voting, working, raising our families, practicing our faith, and pursuing the American dream here in our great state without fear or trepidation and in harmony with our fellow citizens."
Governor Phil Bryant released a statement on Monday afternoon saying:
"The perpetrators of this act will be identified and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. I have contacted the Department of Public Safety and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for assistance."
The Mississippi State Conference NAACP also responded with a statement regarding the incident:
"While much of the information about the incident is still unknown, we firmly believe the current climate of racial and cultural insensitivity has contributed to a decline in civil discourse.
We recognize this moment as further evidence of the need to actively engage in the political process and hold our elected officials accountable for their rhetoric and voting records. We will continue to defend the civil and human rights of everyone in Mississippi and will work diligently to defeat hate wherever or however it materializes.
We are mindful of the vicious cycle of intimidation and divisiveness that has created the current political climate that at best disenfranchises minority voters and at worst is a threat to their wellbeing. We will continue to encourage and support efforts to ensure all Mississippians can participate in the political process and become more civically engaged."
According to a police report, there may be surveillance footage of the people involved but investigators aren't releasing any information while the investigation is pending.
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