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Halloween hanging altered on racism fears

SPRINGFIELD, Ill., Oct. 22 (UPI) -- A Halloween display in Springfield, Ill., will be modified because of concerns that it is racist, the local NAACP said.

A compromise was reached Thursday in meeting of city officials, Springfield's National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and homeowner, Josh Witkowski, The Springfield State Journal-Register reported.

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Springfield NAACP President Archie Lawrence had complained at Tuesday's city council meeting that the display was an effigy of a black man hanging from gallows. The hanging figure was dressed as a cowboy, its legs tied with rope, with a dark-colored skull.

Witkowski said he will change the color of the mask to silver with red and brown tones underneath. The cowboy hat will be removed to prevent casting a shadow on the mask. The rest of the display will remain the same, he said.

"After talking to Mr. Witkowski, one thing I am certain: It was never his intent to have a racist prop in his yard. I am absolutely certain of that," said Lawrence. "And to show the goodness of this man, what he did was he changed the prop to clearly reflect that it's just a Halloween image, nothing more and nothing less."

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