QUEEN VILLAGE (WTXF/AP) - Police say a black baby doll was found hanging from a noose above a playground in Queen Village that partly sits on top of a burial site for 5,000 black Philadelphia residents. What first appeared as a racial incident turned out to be a child's prank.
The doll was discovered Thursday morning.
According to Reverend Mark Kelly Tyler, pastor at the Mother Bethel AME church, two kids confessed to hanging the doll, but they said they didn't know the meaning of what they did. He also says the police commissioner told him the children will not be criminally charged for the prank.
"This was an effort by young boys to creep people out— to scare people.” Rev. Mark Kelly Tyler said. “That was their goal. The boys wanted to scare people but they didn't understand the historical context. They didn't have any understanding of the racial history of lynchings.”
The city had recently announced plans to put up a memorial to those buried beneath the playground.
The 19th century burial ground was established by Richard Allen, a freed slave who founded the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Its existence had been forgotten until a historian began researching the site about a decade ago.