WASHINGTON [3.8.22] – Last night, Senator Tina Smith (D-MN) joined her Senate colleagues to unanimously pass the Emmett Till Antilynching Act. The legislation, which Senator Smith co-sponsored in the Senate, will designate lynching as a federal hate crime.
“It is deeply shameful that it has taken over 100 years and 200 attempts to finally criminalize lynching in this country,” said Sen. Smith. “There is nothing we can do to erase the pain inflicted on thousands of African American men, women, and children who were victims of this shameful instrument of terror. Yet this bill is an important step in our efforts to reckon with the racialized violence that has stained our country’s history. I’m proud of our work to pass this legislation and make forward progress towards healing and justice.”
More than 6,500 Americans were lynched between 1865 and 1950, according to a report from the Equal Justice Initiative. Yet the failure of Congress to codify federal anti-lynching legislation — despite more than 200 attempts since 1900 — meant 99 percent of lynching perpetrators walked free. Last night, the Senate took a meaningful step toward correcting this historical injustice.
Full text of the Emmett Till Antilynching Act can be found here. The legislation is supported by: Equal Justice Initiative, The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, National Action Network, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, Black Women’s Roundtable, Anti-Defamation League, and the National Urban League.