Arkansas Woman Recreates Lynching Scene with Confederate Flag on Front Yard
|thenorthstar||Jun 4, 2019|
Several people in a neighborhood in Little Rock, Arkansas were troubled after learning that a neighbor had hung a mannequin from a tree next to a Confederate flag. The homeowner, who claimed the mannequin was part of her Halloween decorations, took down the mannequin after being confronted by local reporters.
The disturbing display near the Greenwood Acres subdivision became the talk of the town after a Facebook post went viral, FOX16 reported. “I saw a video of a noose, of a person of color hanging from it. It’s kind of disturbing,” said Little Rock resident Ricky Allen, according to FOX16.
Tracy Sims, who lives just a few blocks from the home, told reporters that she found the situation offensive and disturbing. “I saw that Rebel Flag and I found out it [was] someone near my home — it’s very disturbing,” she said. “It is a free country, but it’s very offensive.” When the homeowner, who has not been identified, was confronted by local reporters, she claimed the display had nothing to do with race and said it was a decoration left over from Halloween. “Well, hell, I’ll take it down. This is a Halloween decoration — a creeper. You know the movie Jeepers Creepers,” she said.
The woman told FOX16 that she received no previous complaints about the offensive display. “They could have knocked on the door and asked instead of calling the news out,” she told reporters. When asked if she would remove the mannequin on camera, the woman replied that she would remove it but not in front of reporters.
FOX16 reported that the mannequin had been removed from the tree when a reporter returned to the house less than half an hour later. The Confederate flag was not taken down. Little Rock Police Department did not immediately respond to The North Star’s request for comment on the incident. Sims cast doubt that the woman was unaware of the racial implications of the mannequin display. “She knows what it means, and so does everyone else around here and everyone else too,” Sims said. Unfortunately, incidents depicting lynching imagery are not uncommon.
In April, conservation scientist Dr. Rae Wynn-Grant said she encountered a racist effigy of a lynched Black man hanging from a tree while traveling to Maryland to film a PBS special. Wynn-Grant, who is Black, said that incident showed how it can be dangerous and “mentally/emotionally costly” for Black scientists working to protect the environment. A similar incident occurred in an affluent northern Virginia neighborhood in 2017. Community members became upset when a resident decided to use an effigy of a lynched Black man in his Halloween display. Neighbor Jamie Stevenson attempted to have the display removed, telling the homeowners that she found it “deeply offensive.”
According to the Washington Post, the homeowner said that he never intended to offend anyone and promised never to put up the display again. It was taken down the following day. Lynchings became a common method of mob justice as racial tensions in the country exploded during the late 1800s. According to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), nearly 5,000 lynchings were recorded in the United States between 1882 and 1968.
About 79 percent of lynchings occurred in the South, with the largest number of lynchings occurring in Mississippi. The NAACP reported that Black people accounted for 72.7 percent of the 4,743 lynchings that occurred in the US during that period. Additionally, 1,297 white people were lynched, many for helping Black people or for being against lynchings. The NAACP did not respond to The North Star’s request for comment on the incident in Arkansas.
Arkansas has its own troubled history with lynchings and violence against Black people. In 1919, Black sharecroppers in Elaine, Arkansas unionized to demand a fair share of the profits from their labor.
Following a shootout with a group of local white men, in which one of the white men died, then Governor Charles Brough called on 500 soldiers to “round up” the Black sharecroppers. Soldiers were ordered to shoot and kill any Black person “who refused to surrender immediately,” according to Smithsonian magazine. More than 200 African Americans were killed in the ensuing violence, which is now known as the Elaine Massacre.
About the Author
Nicole Rojas is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has published in various venues, including Newsweek, GlobalPost, IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, and the Long Island Post. Nicole graduated from Boston University in 2012 with a degree in print journalism. She is an avid world traveler who recently explored Asia and Australia.