By Mike James, USA TODAY
Tourists at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington were shocked Wednesday to find a noose in an exhibition on segregation — the second time in less than a week that a noose was left at one of the Smithsonian museums.
The U.S. Park Police were called to the museum and the noose was removed, according to museum officials.
“The noose has long represented a deplorable act of cowardice and depravity — a symbol of extreme violence for African Americans,” said Lonnie Bunch, the director of the African American history museum. “Today’s incident is a painful reminder of the challenges that African Americans continue to face . . . We will continue to help breach the chasm of race that has divided this nation since its inception.”
On Friday, a noose was found hanging from a tree outside the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, also on the National Mall. That incident is also under investigation.
Smithsonian Secretary David Skorton said in a letter to African American history museum employees that “We will not be intimidated.”
“With new urgency, we will tell the story of our nation and all its people. We will continue to fight this sort of ignorance with knowledge,” Skorton said. “We will remain vigilant and, in spite of these deplorable acts, we will become a stronger institution for all Americans.”