Today, the House will vote on the Emmett Till Antilynching Act, which would make lynching a federal crime.
Rep. Bobby Rush, a Democrat from Illinois and a lead sponsor of the bill, told USA Today, “I cannot imagine our nation did not have any federal law against lynching when so many African Americans have been lynched. Lynching was the preferred method of the Ku Klux Klan, the preferred choice of [torturing and murdering African-Americans].”
In 2018, the Justice for Victims of Lynching Act was introduced by Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), who was also joined by Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Tim Scott (R-S.C.). The bipartisan bill was the first piece of legislation to make lynching punishable as a hate crime, not federal. The Senate passed the bill last year, but this vote would make lynching a federal hate crime and added to the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
The bill states, "In the 20th century, lynching occurred mostly in southern states by white southerners against Black southerners. Mass, mob-like lynchings were barbaric by nature, characterized by members of the mob, mostly white southerners, shooting, burning and mutilating the victim's body alive."
The bill also points out “at least 4,742 people, predominantly African Americans, were reported lynched in the United States between 1882 and 1968."
Only one Republican has co-sponsor the bill, Ohio Rep. Michael Turner.
CNN reports the bill is expected to pass with at least a two-thirds majority.