Emmett Till Anti-lynching Act – Update (April, 2022)

Joe Biden, the president of the US has signed a law that makes lynching a hate crime in the United States of America. The bill for this was earlier passed by the Senate of the US in March 2022.

Overview:

  • The Emmett Till Anti-Lynching Act is named after Emmett Till a Black boy of 14-years of age who in the year 1955 was brutally killed in Mississippi after he was accused of offending a white woman in the grocery store of her family.
  • By unanimous consent, this bill passed the US Senate.
  • In the House of Representatives this bill was passed by a vote of 422-3.

About the law

Under this law, a crime can be prosecuted as a lynching if a conspiracy to commit a hate crime results in death or significant physical injury. It also specifies a maximum punishment of 30 years in prison as well as fines that are to be levied.

Earlier anti-lynching legislations

The first anti-lynching legislation was first considered by the US Congress over 120 years ago. They had failed to pass similar legislation around 200 times. The first bill that was put forward was in the year 1900 by George Henry White, then North Carolina Rep who was Congress’s only Black member at that time. Till’s murder and the dismissal of the charges by an all-white jury against the two white men who committed the crime started a movement in the country. The two men later confessed to the killing and this drew national attention to the violence faced by the country’s African American populations and civil rights rallying cry began.

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