The United States Senate unanimously passed the Emmett Till Anti-Lynching Act late on Monday evening. The bill had been in the works for more than 100 years. It was named after Emmett Till, a 14-year-old African American who was lynched after being accused of acting in an offensive manner towards a white woman.
NPR noted that anti-lynching legislation had been in the works for an entire century in the United States. The very act of lynching is a stain on our history that the new bill will help at least some to clean up. After President Biden signs the act, it will make lynching a federal crime across the nation.
Biden is expected to put ink to paper and make the bill and codify the Emmett Till Anti-Lynching Act into American law. Bobby Rush, a Democratic House Representative from Illinois, reacted with a brief statement.
“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 U.S. federal government will always be brought to bear against those who commit this heinous act.”
Bobby Rush was a long-time sponsor of the bill. It had been a long time coming. Despite unanimously passing the Senate, three House Republicans actually voted against the law. Andrew Clyde of Georgia, Chip Roy of Texas, and Thomas Massie of Kentucky all decided it would be a good idea to show up and permanently attach their name to the idea that lynching should be federally legal.
Despite the strange dissenters on the House side, the bill was met with unanimous approval in the Senate. President Biden has been looking forward to signing this law ever since taking office. It is 100 years overdue.
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