Congress gained final approval Monday to legislation that would make lynching a federal hate crime in the United States for the first time, sending the bill to President Joe Biden for signature.
The Emmett Till Anti-Lynching Act, which has been in the works for years, is one of more than 200 legislation introduced in the United States during the last century to prohibit lynching.
It’s named after a Black boy whose violent murder in Mississippi in 1955, and his mother’s demand for an open funeral casket to show the world what had happened to her child, became a watershed moment in the Civil Rights movement.
According to the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Illinois, when a conspiracy to conduct a hate crime results in death or significant physical injury, the offense can be prosecuted as a lynching. The Anti-Lynching Act has a maximum term of 30 years in prison.
In 2020, the House passed a similar bill by a large margin, but it was defeated in the Senate.
The House overwhelmingly adopted a revised version last week, and the Senate unanimously ratified the bill late Monday.
According to the congressman, the Emmett Till Anti-Lynching Act sends a clear and emphatic message that our country will no longer ignore this shameful chapter of our history and that the full force of the United States federal government will always be brought to bear towards those who commit this vile crime.