The HR 35, anti-lynching legislation, introduced by Democrat Bobby Rush of Illinois is the first attempt to address and condemn this racism-related criminal act since 1900.
U.S House of Representatives passed Wednesday 410-4 called the Emmett Till Anti-lynching Act, named after a 14-year-old African American boy who was kidnapped, beaten and lynched in 1955 after he was accused of whistling at a white woman.
At the beginning of the session, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke ahead of the vote in support of the measure, expressing that today Congress had "an opportunity to acknowledge its responsibility for its historic failure to confront and end the horror of lynching in America."
The HR 35, anti-lynching legislation, introduced by Democrat Bobby Rush of Illinois, is the first attempt to address and condemn this racism-related criminal act since 1900. Teenager Till was brutally murdered in a racist attack in Mississippi, an event that drew national attention to the atrocities and violence that African Americans have faced in the United States and became a civil rights rallying cry.
"Today, we send a strong message that violence -- and race-based violence, in particular -- has no place in America," Rush said in a statement while referring to it as a final call to "an American evil."
Lynching is an American evil. Today, we— Bobby L. Rush (@RepBobbyRush) February 26, 2020
send a strong message that violence—and race-based violence, in particular—has no place in America.
Thank you to my colleagues in the House & Senate who have joined me to correct this injustice. #OutlawLynching https://t.co/io451Agyne pic.twitter.com/3Uq1U6fTFM
He spoke about his decision to name the bill after Till, saying the boy was from his district in Chicago and that the now-iconic image of him in his casket "created an indelible imprint on my brain, on my spirit."
The legislation passed the Senate last year, sponsored by the Senate's three black members: Democrats Kamala Harris of California and Cory Booker of New Jersey and Republican Tim Scott of South Carolina. The bill was called the Justice for Victims of Lynching Act and made lynching a federal crime by establishing it as a new criminal, civil rights violation.
CNN reported that since the bills still have different titles and numbers, the House bill would be amended to carry the language of the Senate bill, but would keep the House's title in honor of Till.