PALMDALE, Calif. — Some of the ugliest, most resonant symbols of the nation’s history of racial violence have returned after more than half a century to galvanize national demonstrations in recent weeks driven by the Black Lives Matter movement.
On both coasts, black men have been found hanging from tree branches, suspected suicides that have revived the images of lynchings. Cross burnings are under investigation in at least two Southern states. And nooses have been reported in places as varied as the Sonoma Raceway in California and a construction site in Portland, Ore.
But skepticism — fueled by public fears about a resurgence of white-supremacist activity — fed beliefs that a disturbing trend was emerging, as several other black people were found publicly hanging in recent weeks, including incidents in New York and Texas — all reported as suspected suicides by authorities.
Sean Joe, an expert on suicidal behavior among black men, said he had not come across a case like Fuller’s in his more than two decades working in the field. Read more.