Salem County man removes Halloween noose decoration after NAACP visit
A Salem County resident getting in the Halloween spirit this month hung a man in effigy on his porch.
He refused to take it down after police notified him that it had bothered some black neighbors.
But after getting a personal visit from a local NAACP leader, he appears to have had a change of heart.
NACCP President Nelson Carney Jr. told New Jersey 101.5 that a member of his organization had been taking his son to school when he noticed the display on Route 45 in Mannington.
The hanging man had a brown hood over its head with its hands tied behind the back and a rope around the neck.
Carney said he notified Salem County Prosecutor John T. Lenahan and State Police, who told him they had already asked the man who lived at the home to take it down.
So, Carney decided to knock on his door Friday afternoon.
"I really don't think he understood the culture behind noose hanging in this country," Carney said afterward. "He did take it down immediately and he apologized so many times finally because he didn't realize he offended so many people."
The man, whose identity Carney would not disclose except to say he has only lived in the Salem County for five months, accepted an invitation to attend the chapter's next general meeting. The date has yet to be scheduled.
According to the Archives at Tuskegee Institute, from 1882 to 1968, there were 3,446 recorded lynchings of black people in the United States, nearly three times the number of whites who were lynched. Two such lynchings — of victims of both races — happened in New Jersey.
The hangings by the racist mobs were such a part of daily life that people gleefully posed next to the murdered victims for photographs that were printed in local newspapers and commonly reproduced in postcards.
"A lot of folks went back in their ancestry and found this information and it really bothers them to see in this day ... when you have a president that promotes discrimination and racism. A lot of folks today feel they can express their opinion more on racism because their president does," Carney said.
Carney, who is also a member of the Woodstown-Pilesgrove Board of Education, said diversity in the schools is important to him but many schools skip teaching black history in the classroom as required by the Amistad Law.
The 2002 Amistad Law calls on New Jersey schools to incorporate African American history into their social studies curriculum. It is named after the slave ship on which the prisoners on board revolted and later secured their freedom in a U.S. Supreme Court case.
"My take is if you're teaching black history it's not going to stop discrimination but it may help educate people on what people of color went through to get where we are today and why they are so sensitive to noose hanging or slavery," Carney said.
Before speaking with the homeowner, Carney considered the decoration a hate crime. But he no longer believes that as a result of their conversation.
Lenihan told NJ.com that his office investigated the display and determined it not to be a hate crime.