Oklahoma drivers were disturbed by a noose display along the side of the highway. The display shows three nooses hanging from a tree and signs with pictures of nooses warning people not to be in the area after dark.
“It’s best not to be hanging around this area after dark,” reads the sign on the tree.
Considering the dark history of lynching’s in America, it’s no surprise some residents were troubled by the image.
Terrence reed was one of many passersby that stopped to pull over in disbelief over the display. He views it as a mockery of his African American heritage.
“If you think of a noose in America, it doesn’t represent anything but what used to happen to African Americans,” Terrence told KFOR.
“He got the right to do what he wants to do, he’s got a right to feel what he wanna feel, but I got a right to be angry about it too, and I’m angry.”
But the owner of the display, Merle Martindale, says it is not meant to be racist. Martindale claims he was a victim of a violent crime and is using the nooses as a warning to any would-be criminal.
However drivers like Reed say the Martindale’s message isn’t coming across as intended. “It bothers me.
It’s humiliating,” driver Dennis Varner told KJRH. “It’s discrimination, and America shouldn’t put up with it.”
“If you put up a sign that says I advise you not to hang around here after dark, you’re making a statement,” said Reed told KFOR.
Okmulgee County Sheriff Eddy Rice says that Martindale is not in violation of any laws by having the nooses on display.
Drivers who find the nooses offensive hope that Martindale will put down the display.
“They’re better than this. They shouldn’t have this stuff thrown at their face,” said Varner.
“We’re all human beings, we all got to be on this earth, and we all need to love each other. That’s the way God intended it to be,” said Reed.
According to KJRH, Martindale’s wife says her husband has taken down the display.