Black civil rights leaders are condemning an activist group’s "street art” depicting the lynching of Ku Klux Klan members in a park in Richmond.
WRIC reports Bryan Park was closed on Thursday morning while police investigated the eight figures hanging from a tree. The figures, which depict clowns in KKK hoods, were placed in a tree Wednesday evening by activist group INDECLINE. Each figure had a sign that read, “IF ATTACKED BY A MOB OF CLOWNS, GO FOR THE JUGGLER” and was reportedly part of an art installation called “Ku Klux Klowns.”
According to a press release obtained by WTVR, INDECLINE had allegedly been planning to hang the figures since the spring. They also told WRIC the figures were strung up “in protest against the uprising of white nationalists across this country.”
While INDECLINE provided news sources with footage of themselves placing the clowns in the tree, the video shows the members wearing all-black and masks so they could not be identified.
Speaking to WTVR, some of the neighbors were supportive of the display.
Joseph Stephen said, “It's a bit shocking, but it also feels a little bit liberating. Good for them.”
Civil rights leaders in the area, however, condemned the display.
James “J.J.” Minor, the president of the Richmond branch of the NAACP, told Richmond.com, “When you look at something like that, whether you consider it art or not art, lynching is not something that we’re in agreement with at all.”
“We do not support any groups that support violence,” Minor continued.
Bernice Travers, the president of the Richmond Crusade for Voters, said INDECLINE “does not understand is the pain black people endured then, and still feel today, about hangings.”
Mayor Levar Stoney’s press secretary said, ““there are many ways to express a point of view. As a city we don’t condone breaking the law to do so.”
City Council President Chris Hilbert, who represents the Bryan Park area, said defacing the park with a “very hurtful and distasteful imagery” is wrong, regardless of the intended message.”
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