Saratoga Springs police look for those who hung Confederate flags on lawn jockeys

January 24, 2018 01:46 PM

SARATOGA SPRINGS — There are 37 little people on the lawns outside the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame on Union Avenue. Tuesday morning, before the sun came up, most of the lawn jockeys were wearing a little something extra. Someone had draped Confederate flags around their necks.

The museum spotted the flags and removed them. Now, equipped with surveillance video, they're looking for five culprits.

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The people who placed flags have been communicating with NewsChannel 13 by email. They use a pseudonym, Jehu Sal Deyaun, the name of a slave who lived in Saratoga County during the 1800s.

They say the flags, like the lawn jockeys, are symbols of servitude and slavery. The protestors say the very first jockeys in this country were slaves and the modern-day lawn jockey started as a statue of a slave with an outstretched arm. They provided NewsChannel 13 photos of the earliest statues.

The protestors want the lawn statues removed and they're urging the museum to include black jockeys in a historically accurate exhibit.

The museum calls the flags the work of vandals and issued a statement via email (see below).

The museum's president, John Hendrickson, is also weighing in, saying the lawn jockey display is a "celebration of the colors of silks, not the color of skin."

Museum security removed the flags early Tuesday morning and shared surveillance video with police Tuesday evening.

The National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame sent NewsChannel 13 a statement:

"The lawn jockeys on the Museum property along Union Avenue represent some of the most important and historic racing stables in our beloved sport’s history. They offer no social commentary or racial overtones from our perspective. The response we have received from the public has been overwhelmingly positive since they were unveiled last year. The statues add beauty and vibrancy to our Museum property and Saratoga Springs. They are meant to represent the colors and pageantry of thoroughbred racing and honor the sport’s great traditions. We look forward to installing more lawn jockeys in 2018 along with detailing the history and significance of the statues so the public understands their history.


"Although no damage was done, this is an act of vandalism and trespassing and we do not consider this 'art action,' as the anonymous perpetrator has claimed it to be. "


Mark Mulholland

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