May 19, 2024

Black doll found hanging at Philadelphia playground was a prank, teens say

playground TheGrio
(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

There used to be a time when kids enjoyed playing in the park and cruising the neighborhood on their bicycles. Now, many find great amusement engaging in racist antics that could lead to internet infamy.

As reported by The Associated Press, two pre-teen boys confessed to putting a Black doll in a noose and hanging it above a playground that partly sits on top of a burial site for thousands of Philadelphia’s Black residents.

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Discovery of the doll by a recreation worker prompted Mayor Jim Kenney to describe it as  “a despicable act.”

The boys, one Black and one white, told WCAU-TV that the prank was aimed to scare people and that it wasn’t about race.

Residents reportedly gathered at the park to condemn the actions of the kids. According to ABC local news, about 30 parents and the children gathered at Weccacoe Square playground and created loving chalk messaging drawings of peace and harmony.

Resident Kerry Milch told the television news station, “This is what our community is, we rally together, there is no place for hate here, we’re a diverse neighborhood.”

Rabbi Gamaliel Espes added, “To see something like this is really disheartening. We talk about Philadelphia being the city of brotherly love, sisterly love and for this to occur in this city and time is inexcusable.”

Police Commissioner Richard Ross saw first-hand the Black baby doll hanging from a noose tied to a wire and noted at the scene that “This is the type of behavior that happens that makes you sick, particularly in this day and age and in this city,” the report says.

Councilman Mark Squilla said the two boys, under the age of 13, came forward Thursday night; admitting that they were responsible for the offensive doll image.

“They thought they were going to creep people out and make it scary for people as they came into the playground; they succeeded in that, but they said they didn’t understand the ramifications of what would happen from it,” Squilla told the television news outlet.

The children’s story was also supported by surveillance video.

The city has plans to put up a memorial to those buried beneath the playground.

The 19th-century burial ground was established by a freed slave, Richard Allen, who founded the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

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