Noose taken down in front of Gage Park home after alderpersons take action

The owner said the noose was left from Halloween display, but Ald. Stephanie Coleman (16th) said it didn’t matter why it was hung because people still saw it as a racist symbol.

SHARE Noose taken down in front of Gage Park home after alderpersons take action
A city worker cuts down the branches where noose was reported to be hanging from at 5817 S Artesian Ave on the Southside, Monday, January 9, 2023.

A city worker cuts the branches where a noose was hung Monday in the 5800 block of South Artesian Avenue.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

Two alderpersons called in city crews to cut down the branches of a tree in front of a Gage Park two-flat Monday after they said the owner refused to take down a noose apparently left over from a Halloween display.

Standing in front of the tree as the crews worked, Ald. Stephanie Coleman (16th) said it didn’t matter why the noose was hung from the branch because people still saw it as a racist symbol from the days of lynching.

“We don’t tolerate ignorance, racism, fear in this beautiful city that we call Chicago — especially in the Gage Park community where we are a melting pot of Black and Brown,” Coleman said.

Coleman said she received an email Saturday complaining about it and reached out to the property owners in the 5800 block of South Artesian Avenue.

They told her the rope was part of a Halloween display and that friends had “made jokes that it looks like a rope that we hang people on,” Coleman said.

When the homeowners would not take the rope down, Coleman said she contacted the police and the Department of Streets and Sanitation.

She was joined by Ald. Raymond Lopez (15th), who insisted the noose “is not a joke, not a prank, not a Halloween decoration.”

“And then you laughingly say, ‘We know what this is used for. We know the images conjured up in people,’ and you still put it up,” he said. “You’re more than a jerk.”

Both Coleman and Lopez said they plan to call on the city’s Commission on Human Relations to initiate a conversation among neighbors on what the noose symbolizes.

“In this neighborhood alone, it was only five decades ago that crosses were still being burned, windows were still being broken and the African American community was being chased out on a daily basis,” Lopez told the Sun-Times. “If you had a job here, you had a run before sundown to get past.”

“Or you would get hung,” Coleman added. 

April Bailey stood by watching the workers. She said she was not the resident who contacted Coleman, but she saw the noose while touring an apartment and was disturbed. 

“That’s something I’ve seen in my history that my people were hanging from so, of course, it’s concerning,” Bailey said. 

One neighbor on the block told the Sun-Times she understands how people could see the rope as resembling a noose, but she said it was actually used to hold a neighborhood tire swing. 

Chiquata Winfrey said she has lived on the block for seven years and there have been no racial issues. The swing had been there for years, and the tire was likely removed due to the weather, she said.

“I could understand what the alderman is possibly trying,” she said. “But to come over here and say this is a neighborhood issue and everyone’s been upset ... It’s been here for three years. Kids swing on it. This is a summertime thing when they are out of school, when the weather is nice. Now what are they supposed to do?” 

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Ald. Raymond Lopez (15th) holds up the rope city officials cut from a tree in the 5800 block of South Artesian Avenue.

Sophie Sherry/ Sun-Times

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