U.S. House Passes Bill to Make Lynching a Federal Crime

The United States House of Representatives passed a legislation on Feb. 28 that would make lynching a federal hate crime.

The House approved the H.R.55 – Emmett Till Antilynching Act with a 422-3 vote.

Those who voted against the bill were Republican Representatives Thomas Massie, Chip Roy, and Andrew Clyde.

The passage of the bill came after lawmakers failed to pass anti-lynching bills over 200 times since 1900.

The bill is named after Till, a 14-year-old Black boy from Chicago who was abducted, tortured, and shot in head by two white men in 1955 after he allegedly whistled at a white woman.

Under the legislation, a crime can be prosecuted as lynching when a conspiracy to commit a hate crime results in death or seriously bodily injury.

Those convicted under the legislation could face up to 30 years in prison.

“By passing my Emmett Till Antilynching Act, the House has sent a resounding message that our nation is finally reckoning with one of the darkest and most horrific periods of our history, and that we are morally and legally committed to changing course,” Democratic Representative Bobby Rush, who introduced the bill, said in a statement.

Rush cited a report from the Equal Justice Initiative that said that over 6,500 Americans were lynched between 1865 to 1950.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called on the Senate to take “immediate action” and send the legislation to President Joe Biden for his signature.

“Sadly, hateful attacks are not yet a relic of the past: from the scourge of police violence to assaults on houses of worship. That is why the Democratic Congress is hard at work empowering our legal system with more tools to bring perpetrators to justice,” Pelosi said in a statement after the vote.

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