On Wednesday, visitors to the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., found a noose on the floor, according to Reuters.
Nooses are seen by many as a symbol of immense hatred and bigotry, having been directly linked to thousands of documented deaths throughout American history, most notably in the South. The noose was found by a tourist inside the “Era of Segregation 1786–1968” exhibit, which examines racial segregation throughout American history.
This is the second noose that’s been found on Smithsonian grounds just in the past week; the first was spotted hanging from a tree near the Hirshhorn Museum. The two incidents correlate with a rising number of bias incidents and hate crimes recorded by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Between the November election and February 2017, more than 1,300 hate incidents were reported. Recent racially motivated attacks include the fatal Portland train stabbings and the murder of Bowie State University Student, Richard Collins III.
Both Smithsonian incidents are being investigated by the U.S. Park Police. In a staffer email sent by Smithsonian Secretary David Skorton and obtained by BuzzFeed News, Skorton wrote that “the Smithsonian family stands together in condemning this act of hatred and intolerance, especially repugnant in a museum that affirms and celebrates the American values of inclusion and diversity.”