Hangman’s Noose found hanging at Univ of Maryland Black Cultural Center



Hat Tip: David Schoetz, ABC News

A noose was left hanging from a tree limb near a black cultural studies center on an American college campus.

That’s the scenario that University of Maryland police, with help from the FBI, are investigating as a possible hate crime that may be tied to a similar racial controversy playing out in Louisiana.

Students and faculty at the university’s Nyumburu Cultural Center reported the noose to police Friday afternoon, Paul Dillon, a spokesman for the University of Maryland Police Department, told ABC News. The building has been a meeting point for the university’s black students and faculty for 27 years. Nyumburu is the Swahili word for “freedom house.”

The noose already had been removed by the maintenance staff when police first took the report, but not before an unidentified student took a picture of the scene and e-mailed the image to police. It shows a roughly 3-foot white rope hanging 10 to 12 feet off the ground and ending with a small noose.

Police issued a campuswide e-mail Friday night regarding the discovery and marking the beginning of the formal investigation.

“We will treat this like any other serious crime on campus,” Dillon said, “interviewing witnesses and developing a timeline.”

It remains unclear when the noose was originally hung from the tree and who may be behind the apparent hate message. Dillon said creating a timeline will be key and might allow investigators to pinpoint surveillance video of the area showing the perpetrator or perpetrators.

There is recent precedent for racially motivated disputes on the Maryland campus. In 1999, police investigated a series of disparaging letters sent to some of the university’s black leaders. No charges were filed, Dillon said, but police did “get to the bottom” of the harassing letters.

Connection With the ‘Jena Six’?

Dillon also would not rule out a connection between the noose found on the College Park, Md., campus and the ongoing, high-profile racial controversy in Jena, La. Racial tensions remain high in the Louisiana town as sentencing awaits five of six black teenaged students from Jena High School on charges tied to the beating of a white student in December. A sixth student was charged as a minor.

While no motive for the attack was identified, it took place after three nooses were hung from a tree at the high school. The nooses followed a black student’s decision to sit down in a place where white students typically gathered. The students accused of placing the nooses in that instance were suspended from school.

On Sunday, The Rev. Al Sharpton called for an investigation into the district attorney prosecuting the “Jena Six” in the alleged attack on the white classmate. Sharpton also said he would be in Jena on Sept. 20 for the sentencing of one of the teens.

“We don’t have anything specifically linking this to the ‘Jena Six,’ but we’re not ruling it out,” Dillon said.

C.D. Mote Jr., the University of Maryland president, acknowledged the investigation in an open letter to the campus posted on the school’s Web site.

“The possibility that this act appears intended to bring to mind the horrific crime of lynching, which is such a terrible and tragic part of our nation’s past, is particularly abhorrent,” Mote wrote in the letter.

Mote promised resources to the investigation and swift justice for anyone linked to the incident.

“Any person or persons found guilty of this act will be subject to the university’s full judicial process and any possible criminal actions.”


23 thoughts on “Hangman’s Noose found hanging at Univ of Maryland Black Cultural Center

  1. Thank you for blogging about the Jena 6. Please help us to encourage more bloggers to cover this. The mainstream media is ignoring it. Or at least not giving the same coverage as the Duke lacrosse team, Brittney Spears or the Runaway Bride.

  2. dblhelix

    UM is filled w/ suburban kids who get drunk and do stupid things all of the time. The campus draws on mostly MD w/ a strong presence from NJ/NY. I don’t even know where to begin.

    Perhaps the b-ball rioting on Rt 1, where a bystanding Metro bus driver, a hard-working black man, lost an eye to the rioters. Or, maybe the partying on Princeton Ave, where one student w/ an attitude set a fire on the side of the house, killing a sleeping student inside. Let’s not forget the hate mail to the BSU. In the city area, somebody burned a large cross and left the ashes in front of the home of the only black family on the block, just a few years ago (another unsolved mystery).

    People wonder why the College Park metrorail station is so far away from campus. At the time, the fears of ‘an element’ from the rest of PG and DC having easy access to CP drove the decision to uproot a black neighborhood and push it westbound. If you walk near the metro line in that area, you can still see the foundation stonework of the now demolished homes, that at one time, prevented the city from enforcing ‘sunset laws’ that are still on the books in other nearby jurisdictions.

    It could be the case that the noose was put up by folks trying to draw attention to the Jena 6. We don’t know. However, in coming weeks you will hear all kinds of PR from the univ about what a model of diversity it is, blah-blah. Make no mistake, there is an odd tension in the air. I recall the mailings I used to receive as an ugrad — white envelopes w/ return addresses indicating ‘records & registration,’ ‘bursar,’ ‘Dept of XX’ and the like. However, when I received mail from the campus minority education office announcing events and the like, they’d arrive in unmarked brown envelopes. I used to wonder if I had something to be ashamed of??

    Between the behavior of the suburban kids away from home for the first time, and the muted but omnipresent racial tensions (do not expect any honest discussion to come out of this), anything’s possible.

  3. Michael

    Political Junkie, don’t be a jackass, this has nothing to with a president. This incident is no more indicative of all white views towards blacks as thug posing, pimping and ignorant jealous comments by Kanye and Serena are of black behavior.

  4. Michael, you don’t know me, and you don’t get to call me a jackass. You’re already showing you’re not capable of intelligent discussion since you resort to name calling.

    Bush has made it fashionable to be openly bigoted since he took office. You never saw the extent or increase in racist incidents before 2000, because the perpetrator would have gotten a beat down, in the media and elsewhere.

    You demonstrate an inherent lack of knowledge and are woefully ignorant. I bet you’re either a Negro who’s bougeosie, or a white person trying to masquerade as African-American. Either way, I don’t really care, because you know damned well that those people would not have kidnapped and held a Black woman like that unless it was racial, because the ignorant have no common sense.

    Your “pooh-poohing” this incident, should you be a Black person, indicates the fact that you choose to ignore that racism is alive and well and growing in this country, and you better pray if you’re driving in West Virginia, that you don’t get pulled over for DWB, because I guaran-damn-tee you if that happens, you will come back here singing another tune and wanting sympathy.

    To which I will dig up your response to me and post it for everyone to see.

  5. Cliff

    Scare Tactics of the remembrance of lynching and slavery may be the motivation of the students at the University of Maryland and Jena High School in Jena, Louisiana. They are only able to capitalize on these tactics if they are successful with instilling fear into the black youth who is obviously targeted. If it is true that they are successful with instilling fear in the minds of our black youth of being lynched or hanged from a tree, then they can count on no outrage or outcry against a larger scheme or more extreme attack against black people in general. Scare Tactics are only the beginning of an idea that which brings death and destruction to millions of black people. This idea can only be initiated if you fear the proprietors of the idea and the Scare Tactics.

  6. Michael

    Junkie, let me be clear, and I’ll certainly make this a simple concept for you. Your jackass, yes jackass, comment illustrates the lengths you will go to to attempt sensationalize any issue even remotely regarding race. Bush or any other president has no affect on giving people liscense to do these things. Its ignorane, and certainly whites do not have the market cornered on that (understatement) I absolutely beleive that racism is alive and well in the USA and I also beleive, as do many, the the AA community shares the responsibilty for it, and often contributes to keeping it healthy and alive. I don’t believe that a noose hanging from a tree should warrant national attention and all the race baiters running around giddy about the possible opportunity to score some racsim points with the public. If I knee-jerked and called my local race-baiter every time a black comic makes fun of us in a comedy routine, or squeal racism everytime a black employee ignores me in a store in favor of helping the AA, or the fact that its fashionable for blacks to blame all community ills on whites, I’d be on the phone all the time. I’d rather live life. So, don’t be so thinskinned, some dummy most likely decided to play copycat. Life gooes one, and blacks with continue to use us a fodder for comic routines….the world turns…

  7. Michael:

    Do me a favor and don’t respond to me anymore. You’re far too ignorant for me to waste my time.

    And obviously you are a premier jackass, because you still can’t engage in conversation without resorting to name-calling, you worthless bastard.

  8. Michael

    Name calling? I said “don’t be one”, however you have to admit the comment is one. And it is. Any thinking person knows that actions of ignorance are not confined by race or controlled by any one leader. This is no doubt done by some idiot white or black copycat, simply to get attention. And if it escalates into something else, surely all involved should be punished. But Junkie, my point was a continues to be that whites do not think as a group any more than blacks do. A president does not control out belief system nor does any leader. We have idiot racists in our ranks as you do. And to be honest, if Obama is our prez, you’ll expect me to think the same. Having said that, your comment does wreak of the old-style “all whites are racist” tripe from years ago, and I will call you out on that, even though you cam ME ignorant. We have to be bigger than that and drive that type of thinkng out of everyone…white, black..whatever.

  9. Michael

    Oh, and let’s not forget this one.


    And I’ll be posting Mychal Bell’s criminal history shortly. Let’s just take a look at this innocent little schoolboy’s past.

    Oh and this just in. Mr. Bell’s parents take the money from the NAACP. Money that was mean’t for his defense and they bought new cars! 07′ Jag, and an 07′ Escalade, and lots of new lovely bling. Pictures coming. Wow, does the hypocrisy and race hustling ever cease. You should be ashamed for allowing this to happen….all of you…ashamed!

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