/  03.08.2022

The Emmett Till Antilynching Act passed unanimously in the U.S. Senate on Monday (March 7). The legislation, which makes lynching a federal hate crime, will now go to President Joe Biden where it is expected to be signed into law.

Under the bill, conspiracy to commit a hate crime that results in death or serious bodily injury can be prosecuted as a lynching and be publishable by up to 30 years in prison.

Federal anti-lynching legislation was first introduced in 1990 by then-Rep. George Henry White, who was the only Black member of Congress at the time. The current bill, authored by Rep. Bobby Rush, is named after Emmett Till, a Black 14-year-old who was murdered by white men in Mississippi in 1955.

A similar bill was passed in the House of Representatives in 2020, but failed in the Senate.

“After more than 200 failed attempts to outlaw lynching, Congress is finally succeeding in taking the long overdue action by passing the Emmett Till Antilynching Act,” Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said on the Senate floor on Monday, per CNN. “Hallelujah. It’s long overdue.”

The Emmett Till Antilynching Act was passed by a 422-3 vote in the House last week. Republican Reps. Andrew Clyde, Thomas Massie and Chip Roy were the only dissenting votes.

“Our nation endured a shameful period during which thousands of African Americans were lynched as a means of racial subordination and enforcing white supremacy,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler said after the bill passed. “These violent incidents were largely tolerated by state and federal officials and they represent a stain on our nation’s legacy.”

“Today, we acknowledge this disgraceful chapter in American history and we send a clear message that such violent actions — motivated by hatred and bigotry — will not be tolerated in this country,” he added.


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