A noose was found in the segregation exhibit of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday afternoon.
The exhibit was closed for several hours, according to Smithsonian.com, as police investigated the incident.
“The noose has long represented a deplorable act of cowardice and depravity — a symbol of extreme violence for African Americans. Today’s incident is a painful reminder of the challenges that African Americans continue to face,” said Lonnie Bunch, the museum’s founding director.
“Our museum is a place of learning and solace, a place to remember, to reflect and to engage in important discussions that help change America,” Bunch said. “This was a horrible act, but it a stark reminder of why our work is so important.”
The incident comes just days after a noose was discovered outside the Hirshhorn Museum, which features contemporary art and culture.
The noose is associated with lynching. From 1882 to 1968, 3,446 blacks were lynched in the United States, according to the NAACP. That accounted for more than 72 percent of all lynchings in the country during that time period.
On Wednesday morning, a racial slur was spray painted on the front gate of NBA superstar LeBron James’ Los Angeles home, according to police.
“It just goes to show that racism will always be a part of the world, a part of America. You know hate in America, especially for African Americans, is living every day. Even though that it's concealed most of the time, you know people hide their faces and will say things about you and when they see you they smile in your face, it's alive every single day,” James said in a pre-NBA Finals press conference in Oakland.
James, a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers, is African American.