El Dorado Progressives Attack Hangtown Hangman

by Placerville Newswire / Jun 29, 2020 / comments

[INEDC, Somerset CA]

Irene Lipshin‎ posted to El Dorado Progressives Facebook:

Today, June 24, 2020, the Hangman and noose are up again, hanging on the same privately owned building on Main Street in Placerville. Last night the City Council listened to residents and other concerned citizens through letters read and calls in their Zoom meeting. They listened respectfully, as most shared their concerns about nooses and effigies, symbols of racism, hate, violence and oppression, hanging over a public sidewalk on a public Main Street of our city. The majority of speakers and letter writers expressed sadness, anger, shock, dismay, disbelief, distress. From my letter read at last night’s meeting: “This is the time for our city to remove signs of oppression, racism and violence, to show we respect all people, IBPOC, Indigenous, Black, and People of Color and consider what we are teaching when we use these oppressive symbols for perceived commercial or social benefit.” What about the effects on children who see this anytime they walk on Main St.? Do they have a right to a safe environment free from threat or harm?

Is this how cases find their way to the Higher Courts? Why can a private owner display these threatening objects, noose and rope and effigy on a public street? The city may remove nooses from city property, but this building is private property. So it looks like they are not acting on removal of the Hangman. I would like to be wrong.


About: "I am a photographer and poet based in Northern California. National Geographic and Life Magazine were great inspiration in my life as a young journalism student. My portfolio and collections include documentary photography and environmental portraits... People, advocacy and social justice issues are frequent themes... as an activist."  - Irene Lipshin


SELECTED COMMUNITY SOCIAL MEDIA RESPONSES:

Micah Price:

"I am a progressive and a social studies teacher. Within the context of the history of THIS town (as opposed to the South, where lynchings of African-Americans was a horrific scourge in our nations history) I don’t think the hangman is a sign or racism or oppression. The name “Hangtown” came from a large oak tree on what is now “Main Street” on which thieves especially were hanged. So I think people need to stop thinking in black and white terms and put things in context. Leave it up! It’s history, and it doesn’t contribute to a system of oppression in my view. This is so much different than confederate monuments, which deliberately honor an era and an ideology of slavery and extreme oppression... Perhaps you’re right, it should go in a museum. But this town/region clearly has a lot of historical importance and strives to maintain a certain gold rush era look. As a historian I have to say these kinds monuments and unique charms are precious! I am very progressive- I have a degree in community studies from UC Santa Cruz, I am gay, I am A hippie. But It’s not much different than being able to see the old jailhouse in Coloma. Or see a monument to James Marshall. Yes we have a history of oppressing all kind of people in the region- the Chinese, Native Americans and Latinos especially. But the noose, in this geographical region, is not a symbol tied to the KKK, or other relevant forms of oppression."

 

Joan Larson Learned:

"... it’s on private property and isn’t against the law. You will have to have the existing law changed to have the hangman removed. As the law is now, anyone can place a noose on their own property (or someone else’s property if they have permission). The only way to get it removed is by changing the law. Talk to your representatives."

 

Ayana Morali:

"Guys, nooses are triggering. That’s the conversation. I don’t care about the specific history in this town. This town is a municipality of the United States if America, where nooses have an ugly and racist historical context. Have some compassion for your fellow citizens who may be triggered by this image. Any conversation that ignores that is one of privilege."

 

Ralph Petty

You cannot ignore our history just because it offends some people. These things happened. The younger generations should know that their grandparents or great grandparents struggled at times to do the right thing. Again, just because some part of history is sometimes unfathomable, we cannot ignore it as if it did not occur.

 

Cerine Dandy

I lived in Placerville aka Hangtown from the age 4 all the way to 20. I don't see this as being offensive or for any reason should be taken down. People need to put their grown up pants on and get over it.

 

Anthony Nowka

I was born in Marshall hospital 41 years ago, never once in my life in hangtown was the noose ever a symbol of racism or hate for me or anybody I ever knew. Seriously, people need to get off the I'm offended by everything bandwagon.

 

Kelly Briggs

Welcome back George. We hung lawbreakers. Thieves . Murderers. Cattle thieves horse thieves.and other atrocities. I have never read in Placerville history of a hanging of anyone on that spot who was any other race or color. The gold rush brought good people and bad. All nations all colors.

I do not know how we became a predominately white town. I grew up with many Mexicans . Due to being in an agricultural area. I never thought less of them. Nor any other race. Just people and nice kids to make friends with. Our history bring in many tourist dollars. I see people all the time taking photos and marveling at George. Not screaming or moaning or trying to take him down. No complaints have I ever heard. Except now. And most likely from people who moved here from other areas. Well they could have researched. And if disagreeable to them, moved somewhere else.

Its unfair to come into an established place and say everything about it is offensive let's remove it or change it. My opinion as a life long citizen of the area.

 

Steve Zonneveld

The knee jerk reaction to this is saddening. Growing up in the town/County we all knew the history. And in this day and age it is at your fingertips. Just Google it and what this spot represents!!!!!!...... nothing to do with racism. All to do with bad people/actions!!! Wake up people!!! It had to do with robbery!!! The pigment of ones skin has absolutely zero to do with this symbol!!!

 

Tracy Stout

YOU could: Take it as a joke, take it as a part of our history, take it as a sign of oppression, take it as a warning to white people, (the mannequin is white as far as I can tell), take it as a bourgeois attempt at imperialism, take it as a commercial prank, but it's not yours to take down so give it a rest. We silent majority lump you in with all the victims on the news who somehow got the idea that we care what you think.

 

Mark Schneider

This is ridiculous, George was a white man and has nothing to do with hate. Yes placerville is racist. George, was not. He was a RAPIST, and hung accordingly.

 

Jim Cokinos

In other words, the “racist noose” wasn’t imagined as a “racist noose” until a racist narrative needed to be pushed out to the public by El Dorado Progressives and it’s members.  People see and imagine what they want to see and imagine.
How many blacks were hung in Hangtown because of racism?
I believe that would be zero!
But that’s the narrative that El Dorado progressives are pushing despite the absolute fraudulent claim.
The noose to me is a symbol of the final execution of justice for the most heinous of crimes.
And don’t ever assume I or other people cannot empathize or don’t understand hate and racism.
I spent five years in the foster system three of which was in East Palo Alto with black foster parents where I and one other white kid or (white pattie) were exposed to the worst elements of hatred in a racist community daily.
I’d say I have a broader perspective than most all of you who sympathize with the false narrative.
If anyone has reason to be narrow minded and look through a isolated lens of hatred, circumstance and injustice I’d say I qualify.
But I choose not to,my view is more inclusive of facts and the bigger picture so I don’t hold all accountable for what one people were like and I don’t judge a fraction of what some minority situation presents as all inclusive thus overstepping my grievances.
Time for people to grow up and employ more critical thinking skills and less imagination

 

Chad Griffin

I'm sorry but the George needs to stay. It has nothing to do with race, color or where you come from. It's our history of our town. This is right up there with the Confederate flag. We might as well stop flying old Glory because it has ties to slavery. It flew for 16 presidencies before slavery was abolished. This is becoming ridiculous

Jim Cokinos > Chad Griffin

Or we can broaden our view and conclude that old glory stands for the only nation on the planet that abolished slavery (thanks republicans) that was always self correcting and expanding equality and justice for all.

 

Sharon Brennfleck

This hangman has been here forever, when I was a child going to Placerville this is what we looked for, we were tought why it was there, what it represented and it was not repulsive to anyone, as new people from out of town start moving in to Placerville they are the ones offended as they don’t know or wish to know yhe history! Fight for this symbol to stay where it is!

 

Steven Huck

The hangman was only oppressive to those not following the rule of law. How dare you refer to Hangtown symbolism with racism? People like you, trying to call everything racist and hate filled are nothing but racists and haters yourselves.
Your letter to the council suggests the roots of “Hangtown” have something to do with racism. An insult to history. Please don’t be so ignorant.

Matthew Schug

It seems to me in recent times if one person is "Offended" by something everyone else's rights don't matter!

 

Devon Kling

Progressively leave El Dorado County if you are offended by George!

 

Cindy Abrahams

Have mercy I feel like we are going back through the 60s again when tourists called the governor because a reenactment of an arrest leading to a hanging during Wagon Train Days was thought to be the real thing (yup we got dumb tourists then too) and they had to be calmed down and explained the history of the goldrush and criminals (not POC) were dealt a swift and harsh justice and yet it's said history repeats itself and it does knock down all the images that represent history good bad and indifferent instead of learning from them and you are doomed to repeat the history.
I am from Hangtown (actually Pollock.Pines) and as an innocent child I was not traumatized by this I was more traumatized by the riots going in in Oakland and Berkeley and across the nation that appeared on the news every single day....I have shared this image with folks from around the globe and not one was offended (trust me my global group of friends especially in the Caribbean and South Africa would let me know if they were offended) and all have been curious about the name and laughed about various anecdotes around the image and the dummy but not one was offended .... I however am.offended by people who look for things to be offended by a symbol is only a symbol IF YOU attach a meaning to it that's the only way it gains power is if you let it...man lots of whackadoodles looking for excuses to be offended maybe it's because they have no self belief they have to get validation from outside themselves...leave the dummy alone people move on with your lives and get over your self

 

Freddies Swan Damian Butler

I grew up speaking Spanish in placerville and had to deal with ignorant people growing up. Saying that I don't connect that experience with the name hangtown. Everyone knows it was criminals that got hung. Mexicans here call the guy Joaquin Murrieta, a guy who got hung for stealing from the rich.

 

Debbie Lee Kirk

Lots of us grew up with George, never offended or traumatized because we knew our history. We knew how hard life was for the early settlers, and we understood what it took to live in the Wild West. Never ever associated him with anything other than an example of how lawlessness was dealt with in the gold mining camps and towns. People from all over the world love our unique history and travel here, spend their money here to experience a bit of the Old West. You wipe away that history and tourist will go elsewhere which will hurt local businesses. My family has been here since the 1850’s and one of them was an early local constable officer. I learned a lot of history from the old timers stories and never once was anything racist ever mentioned.

 

Jackie Winje

I grew up here. Saw that as a little girl. Mom explained it was in the old days. Hanging bad men. I was fine with that. Off to the toy store. It has nothing to do with racism etc. it’s history. Plain and simple.

 

Taylor Landaker

Left will never let a tragedy go to waste. Placerville Progressives are anything but progressive.

 

Michelle DeGray Brunius

I grew up here...in Hangtown. I have no memory of EVER thinking that this was anything other than a “doll” hanging from a building. It did not scare me or traumatize me. It is part of Placerville’s history. This is who we are. If you’re walking down the sidewalk with your child and you intentionally point it out and say how bad and how horrible it is then of course children are going to grow up thinking that. If you walk down the sidewalk with your child and point it out and say look little Susie this is what they used to do to really bad people that did really bad things so there wasn’t much crime in the town because of it, then Little Susie might grow up with some respect. All these people with their panties in a bunch coming up to El Dorado County and trying to change our history just really pisses me off!

 

Bill Lawless

This is not a sign of racism or oppression or even hate the man dummy is a white he represents a criminal hung for reason during the gold rush, explain that to your children and they will be fine.

Diane Scelsi > Bill Lawless

Most truthful comment I've seen. A symbol of Law. and Order in the day, simple as that

 

Larry Taylor

If you're going to ban historical displays of dispensing justice then you'd better be prepared to ban the displays of rifles at gun shops, ban gun shows, ban the sale of rope. Sounds pretty ridiculous, doesn't it? But the left has its radical agenda, its thin skin evident for all to see, and apparently sees the here and now as its best opportunity to wag its tail and destroy the USA "beast". I dare say that those in favor of retiring George and obliterating all references to Hangtown are mostly transplants from outside, way outside, of El Dorado County.

Amy Marie Burkhart>  Larry Taylor I remember being a little girl, and coming to Placerville to visit you, Aunt Marilyn, and the family in Pollock, and one of my favorite things to do as soon as we got into town was to have my dad drive down Main Street, so I could see all the familiar places and, of course, George. Even at 7 years old I knew the history of Placerville, and was able to differentiate between what our hangman represents, and actual racist symbols and actions. If newcomers and ignorants choose to remain uneducated on the history of our town, they should just keep their judgements and opinions to themselves. They come across as ridiculous and bitter.

 

Dianna Ratliff

There’s a difference between hanging and lynching..... one was used as a punishment by law, one was used as a racist tool.
In all the arguments I’ve seen about this, NEVER have I heard anyone say anything racist as a reason to keep George

Our county dolled out hangings
As a legal punishment.
And do some research, white men were hung there, it wasn’t a spot for racist hate hangings.
Are there things that need to change in this country? Yes! Are people treated wrong and judged by their race? Yes
Is George the freaking dummy representing hanging black people? No.

 

R.J. Carter

You Placerville Progressive morons can all go kick rocks....We will not scrub our hometown history because of your sensitive "WOKE" feelings....

 

Gail Butler

When I was little and I asked about George my Grampa used it as an opportunity to teach me about history. About how my ancestors came to this place in search of a better life and how rough it was, the risks they took, the struggles they faced. How they were subjected to criminals as well as Mother Nature. George is part of our heritage!

 

Sandy Manzer

Those of us who grew up with the Hangman's Tree realize it's part of our history, and as far as I know, none of my friends growing up with it were traumatized.
The history is in place, like it or not. Let it serve as a reminder of simpler times, and no one should be able to steal the history from our town because they are offended.

 

Eli Brunius

I remember looking at the Hangman as a kid walking down Main Street and I loved it. I never once thought it was racist or a “bad” thing. YOU CANT ERASE HISTORY CUZ YOUR FEELINGS GOT HURT.

 

Gary Navratil

How about using this as an opportunity to remind people to not be stupid, do unto others, abide by the laws, or YOU could be the next George.

 

Guy StClair

We need to take a lesson from the left. Until we get city council members (one of us?) that is for keeping and preserving Placerville history without clutching them Pearl's. We need to rally around the flag or in this case our buddy George in numbers physically and March up to the were the city council meets and let them know that we won't stand for it anymore! And remind them that their jobs are one the line. This facebook page is great to rally the troops but to the local governments dont mean to much to them. We need to physically clutch our own Pearl's sort of speak and protest ourselves. (I hate protesters, I cant believe I'm advocating people to protest. Lol!) Sitting here and complaining isn't going to.get it done. Though we moved away in the mid 70s, Placerville is and always be my hometown. It is and always be a big part of me.

 

Steve Pickens

If you take George down that would mean we have to cancel the Sheriff shoot outs too. It’s Part of The History people. If you moved up here from outta town and are crying about what we locals are very passionate about. Our history, maybe you should have thought about that before you moved in. All are welcome but don’t come to someone’s house and try to rearrange the furniture and redecorate.

 

Mike Nunez Dryden

I’m one of the “children” mentioned in Ms. Lipshin’s post. I have walked Placerville’s Main Street since 1953, and I have never been offended by the “hangman” at the Hangman’s Tree!! I often stopped at P & M Market on the corner for penny candy! The “hangman” didn’t ruin my psyche, as you infer in your post! I’m not an ax murderer, I haven’t pillaged or raped!! I’m a history-loving citizen of Placerville and was taught and understand the story behind this familiar symbol!
Leave the “hangman” or “George”, whichever, alone!!

 

Pat Brewster

What kind of parent are you if you don’t use issues like these to educate your children? Lazy, not interested in local history, uncommunicative? Funny that most of us who grew up with George may not be or may be racist but those who are I can almost certainly say the noose and George have nothing to do with it. I’m so scared, I had a black child back in the early 70’s. Really learn the difference between true offensive imagery and history.

 

Troy Danielson

To many people react to things they have no idea about.If it was about lynching it would have been taken down a long time ago but it’s not about lynching so stop crying racism and keep the old desperado on the noose

 

Roger Bergman

Irene lipshin I love how u say its your town no its not and George does not represent what u say. If we bring back more punishment to people that do wrong they will think twice about it next time that is the truth