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Biden signs bill named after Emmett Till making lynching a hate crime


H.R. 57 is signed by U.S. president Joe Biden 55, “Emmett Till Antilynching Act”, during a ceremony held at the White House, Washington, March 29, 2022.

Kevin Lamarque | Reuters

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden signed the Emmett Till Antilynching Act is now in effect. Lynching will be prohibited on Tuesday. federal hate crime after more than a century of failed efforts in Congress to pass similar legislation.

After Till, a Black teenage girl from Chicago who was taken, tortured, shot in the head and killed in 1955, Carolyn Bryant Donham said that Till whistled at her while touching her in Mississippi.

After the House had passed the bill in a 422-3 vote on February 28, the Senate approved the bill by unanimous consent on March 7. This indicated that there was no opposition. Three GOP Reps. Thomas Massie from Kentucky, Chip Roy (Texas) and Andrew S. Clyde (Georgia) voted against the bill.

Congress failed more than 200 occasions to pass anti-lynching laws since 1900.

Biden stated during the bill signing ceremony, that antilynching laws were not about civil rights struggles from decades past. He cited Ahmaud Abery’s 2020 killing and the rally of white supremacists that occurred in Charlottesville (Va.) in 2017.

Biden said, “From Ahmaud Abery’s bullets back to many other violent acts, countless victim known and unknown. The same racial hate that drove the mob in Charlottesville to hang a noose just a few year ago brought the mob pulling torches from the Charlottesville fields.”

“Racial hate isn’t an old problem—it’s a persistent problem,” he added.

Rep. Bobby Rush of D-Ill. introduced the legislation. This will permit prosecution for lynching in cases where a conspiracy or hate crime leads to death or serious bodily injuries. And perpetrators could face up to 30 years imprisonment.

We are making lynching a federal hate crime for the first time ever in U.S history. Rush said that Emmett Till was the person we’re executing. in a tweet Tuesday. It’s high time for this historical injustice to be corrected.

 report by the Equal Justice Initiative, a nonprofit organization providing legal representation to prisoners who have been wrongly convicted of crimes, found that nearly 6,500 lynchings took place in the U.S. between 1865 and 1950.