House approves bill making lynching an federal hate crime

After more than 200 anti-lynching bills were passed by lawmakers since 1900, the Emmett Till Antilynching Act was approved by lawmakers in a 422-3 vote.

House approves bill making lynching an federal hate crime

WASHINGTON -- Monday's House vote made lynching a federal offense after legislators failed to pass anti-lynching legislation more than 200 times between 1900 and now.

The Emmett TillAntilynching Act was approved by legislators in a 422-3 vote. Reps. Thomas Massie (Republican from Kentucky), Chip Roy (Republican from Texasas) and Andrew S. Clyde (Republican from Georgia) voted against the measure.

The bill is named after Till a 14-year old Black teenager from Chicago, who was abducted and tortured in 1955 for allegedly blowing at a Mississippi woman.

The legislation was introduced by Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.). Lynching can be charged when there is a conspiracy to commit hate crimes that results in death or serious bodily injuries. Convicts could face up 30 years imprisonment.

Rush stated in a statement after Monday's vote that "By passing my Emmett Till Antilynching Act," the House sent a clear message that the nation has finally come to terms with one of the most tragic periods in our history and that it is morally and legally committed towards changing course.

Rush stated that he was eight when Emmett Till's body was photographed in Jet magazine. He pointed to the image and said, "This is why I brought my boys from Albany, Georgia."

He said, "That photo shaped my consciousness in America as a Black man, changed my life and made America a better nation." Modern-day lynchings such as the murder of Ahmaud Arkary make it clear that racism and terror, which fueled Emmett Till's lynching, are still too common in America today.

Rush cited the report of the Equal Justice Initiative, which found that nearly 6,500 lynchings took place in the U.S.A between 1865-1850.

Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), House Speaker, stated Monday that hateful attacks "are not yet a thing of the past." She asked the Senate to immediately take up the legislation and send it to President Joe Biden.

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