August 14, 2022

It comes 67 years after one of the most notorious race crimes in modern American history

After 200 failed attempts over 120 years, lynching will finally become a hate crime in the USA.

The legislation has been named in memory of the 14-year-old African American boy who was lynched in Mississippi in 1955 after being accused of offending a white woman in her family’s grocery store.

67 years later, the US congress has finally passed the new law, which will make lynching punishable by up to 30 years in prison, The Times reports.

In a statement following the senate’s unanimous approval, Bobby Rush, a Democrat representative for Illinois who pushed the bill, said: “Lynching is a longstanding and uniquely American weapon of racial terror that has for decades been used to maintain the white hierarchy.

“Unanimous Senate passage of the Emmett Till Anti-Lynching Act sends a clear and emphatic message that our nation will no longer ignore this shameful chapter of our history and that the full force of the US federal government will always be brought to bear against those who commit this heinous act.”

It was after the American Civil War that lynching became rampant in the US. Over 4,000 lynchings were documented in southern states between 1866 and 1950 – with most unpunished.

Why? Because white police officers declined to investigate or all-white juries cleared any suspects.

Launching became rampant in the 1800s (Getty)

For over 120 years, American politicians have been trying to bring lynching laws intro effect.

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In 1900, a law was introduced by George Henry White of North Carolina – the only black member of congress at the time. However his bill did not make it out of committee.

Bills were brought to the table throughout the 1920s – with many passed – but it was senators from southern states that blocked them on every occasion.

It wasn’t until 2005 that the senate passed a resolution showing remorse for its failure to pass any anti-lynching legislation – but still, nothing came into effect.

The murder of George Floyd in 2020 and subsequent Black Lives Matters protests brought the problem back to the world’s attention. The House passed an anti-lynching bill in the same year but again this was stalled when Republican senator Rand Paul from Kentucky objected.

Strangely, Paul was a sponsor of the bill that has now been passed. He said he will “ensure that federal law will define lynching as the absolutely heinous crime that it is.”

Rush, who pushed for the law to be passed, was an activist throughout the civil rights era in the 1960s. The 75-year-old will retire at the end of the current congress and said he looks forward to Biden signing the law “very, very soon”.

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