U.S. Senate Apologizes For Failure To Enact Anti-Lynching Legislation
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Senate Finally Agrees To Make Lynching A Federal Hate Crime

The bill was approved in a unanimous vote. 

After a 100 years of “unsuccessful” legislative efforts, the U.S. Senate finally agreed to classify lynchings as a federal hate crime.

The Justice for Victims of Lynching Act, introduced this past summer by Democratic Senators Kamala Harris and Corey Booker, along with Republican Sen. Tim Scott, was approved in a unanimous vote Wednesday (Dec. 19).

“It’s been 63 years since Emmett Till was murdered, yet lynching is still not a federal hate crime. The Senate has a chance to correct this — now is the time to act,” Harris tweeted ahead of the Senate vote.

After the decision Harris tweeted, “Lynching is a dark and despicable aspect of our nation’s history. We must acknowledge that fact, lest we repeat it. Thank you to my colleagues for agreeing to unanimously pass our Justice for Victims of Lynching Act, and @CoryBooker and @SenatorTimScott for your partnership.”

 

According to CNN, Republican Mississippi Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith presided over the session. In November, Hyde-Smith was filmed telling a crowd of mostly white voters that she would be “first in line” to attend a “public hanging.”

The Justice for Victims of Lynching Act outlines lynching as the “ultimate expression of racism,” to follow slavery. As the legislation notes, “4,742 people, predominately African Americans” were lynched in the United States between 1882 and 1968,”  and nearly all perpetrators escape “state and local” punishment.

The House of Representative’s enacted three anti-lynching measures between 1920 and 1940, “but failed to enact anti-lynching legislation despite repeated requests by civil rights groups, Presidents, and the House of Representatives to do so.”

Harris also pointed out that Congress has “tried and failed nearly 200 times to make lynching a federal crime.”

READ MORE: White Teacher Won't Be Punished For Threatening Black Student With Lynching

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CPD was on scene and assisting the United States Secret Service with a law enforcement matter. Any and all inquiries regarding a federal protectee must be directed to the Secret Service. https://t.co/ecq5TaMiQ0

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