History, News

Law to make lynching a federal crime passes the House

Similar legislation has

The Lynching of Lige Daniels. 3 August 1920, Center, Texas.

passed the U.S. Senate


By Frederick H. Lowe


The U.S. House of Representatives has passed legislation designating lynching, which was used by whites to murder and terrorize black men, women and children, a federal hate crime.

The bill, (H.R. 6086), which was introduced by U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush of Chicago in 2018, passed the House 410 to 4.

A similar bill, introduced by Senators Kamala Harris (D., California), Cory Booker (D., New Jersey) and Tim Scott (R., South Carolina), passed the U.S. Senate in February 2019.

The two bills will now go to a joint Senate/House Conference committee to iron out any differences. The legislation then will be sent to President Donald Trump who is expected to sign it.

The National Memorial for Peace and Justice and Legacy Museum, which is based in Montgomery, Alabama, reported that between 1877 and 1950, 4,400 were lynched in 12 Southern States, including Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

Whites also lynched black men in Duluth, Minnesota, Omaha, Nebraska and Indiana.

Historically, lynching of blacks entertained whites. Some even held picnics to celebrate (the word picnic is rooted in the words “pick a  nigger” for lynching) Blacks, however, fled to other parts of the country to escape lynching.

Congressman Leonidas C. Dyer (R, Missouri) was the first to introduce an anti-lynching bill in 1918.  His bill, intended to punish authorities that failed to prevent lynching, was designed to act as a deterrent that would end the practice.  His bill ultimately died in the Democratically controlled Senate where it faced stiff opposition.



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