The Hangman's Noose and the Lynch Mob: Hate Speech and the Jena Six

32 Pages Posted: 1 Jun 2010 Last revised: 10 Jul 2013

See all articles by Jeannine Bell

Jeannine Bell

Indiana University Maurer School of Law

Date Written: 2009


Taking the hangman's noose hanging in Jena, Louisiana in 2006 as a starting point, this Article begins by placing the hanging of a noose in historical context. The Article then proceeds to explore contemporary manifestations of noose hanging in the workplace, in schools and other settings. The Article examines noose hangings that occurred around the country since the display in Jena to explore the social meaning of a noose. Also examined are media constructions of noose hanging and the perception that some Blacks targeted by noose hanging have had of these incidents. The article concludes with a victim based reasonable persons approach to regulating extremist symbols of hate speech like the noose.

Keywords: Noose, Hate Crime, Jena 6, First Amendment, Race, Hate Speech, Constitutional Law, Racist Speech Racism, Injury, Harm

Suggested Citation

Bell, Jeannine, The Hangman's Noose and the Lynch Mob: Hate Speech and the Jena Six (2009). Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review, Vol. 44, No. 2, p. 329, 2009; Indiana Legal Studies Research Paper No. 167. Available at SSRN:

Jeannine Bell (Contact Author)

Indiana University Maurer School of Law ( email )

211 S. Indiana Avenue
Bloomington, IN 47405
United States
812-856-5013 (Phone)
812-855-0555 (Fax)

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