The story

The media spotlight might have shone most intensely on Jena, Louisiana, but a symbol of racial violence has been hung across America lately, spurring anger, resentment and a big question.

Do all the incidents of hanging nooses -- many with hateful notes to their intended black audience -- reveal an ugly truth about race relations in the United States, or are they just stupid pranks by a few foolish, attention-starved people?

Since September, nooses have been found in a Coast Guard office, a suburban New York police station locker room, a North Carolina high school, a Home Depot in New Jersey and on the campus of the University of Maryland.

A Brooklyn, New York, high school principal, who is black, received one in the mail recently, along with a letter that read, "White Power Forever," The New York Times reported. In mid-October, a noose was discovered outside a post office at New York City's "Ground Zero," just days after a noose was hung on the office door of a black Columbia University professor.

Earlier this week, the head of a black mannequin was found hanging from a noose outside a home in Valley Stream, New York, police said. Beneath the noose, on the mannequin's neck, was a piece of paper with the "n-word" written on it, said Detective Jeff Schilling of the Nassau County Police Department. Read full article »

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The Noose: An American Nightmare
CNN investigates the noose's violent history & recent incidents.
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