- The Senate unanimously adopted the Emmett Till anti-lynching law on Monday.
- The legislation is the culmination of 122 years of efforts to pass an anti-lynching law.
WASHINGTON — After 122 years of effort, a bill making lynching a federal hate crime is ready to be signed into law.
The Senate on Monday unanimously passed the bipartisan Emmett Till Antilynching Act to allow crimes to be prosecuted as lynching if a victim is killed or injured as a result of a hate crime. The measure, named after the teenager whose murder in 1955 helped start the civil rights movement, will be sent to President Joe Biden.
Senses. Cory Booker, D.N.J. and Tim Scott, RS.C., in February introduced complementary legislation to the bill approved by a 422-3 vote in the House on March 1.
Three Republicans, Representatives Andrew Clyde of Georgia, Thomas Massie of Kentucky and Chip Roy of Texas, voted against this anti-lynching bill.
Anti-lynching bills were introduced in Congress as early as 1900. By Monday, the House had failed more than 200 times to criminalize lynching federally.
An earlier version of the bill passed the House in 2020 but died in the Senate.
From 1877 to 1950, about 4,400 black people were lynched in the United States, according to Equal Justice Initiative, a nonprofit organization that provides legal services to those wrongfully convicted of crimes, among others. The NAACP counted about 4,700 lynchings from 1882 to 1968, and more than 70% of those killed were black.
Both organizations noted that the numbers were likely underreported.
Booker said in a statement that he was proud to work with colleagues from both sides of the aisle to push landmark legislation through Congress and the president’s office.
“While no amount of legislation will reverse the pain and fear felt by these victims, their loved ones, and Black communities, this legislation is a necessary step that America must take to heal from the racial violence that has permeated its history.” , Booker said.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., tweeted Tuesday that the United States has taken a “critical step toward justice”.
“I can’t wait for @POTUS (Biden) to sign this into law,” Hoyer wrote.
Till, a 14-year-old black teenager from Chicago, was visiting family in Mississippi when he was abducted by two white men, Roy Bryant and JW Milam. Till’s badly beaten body was later found in the Tallahatchie River. Authorities discovered he had been shot in the head.
Contact Chelsey Cox on Twitter at @therealco.