Should lynching be a federal hate crime? These four U.S. lawmakers say no!

Mohammed Awal Mar 9, 2020 at 05:00pm

March 09, 2020 at 05:00 pm | Opinions & Features

Mohammed Awal

Mohammed Awal

March 09, 2020 at 05:00 pm | Opinions & Features

Image: AP

Congress last month passed legislation to make lynching a federal crime.

The anti-lynching legislation was named after Emmett Till who was kidnapped in Money, Miss., beaten and lynched to death in 1955 for allegedly flirting with a white cashier at a local store.

Till was 14 years old.

The Legislation which was introduced by Illinois Rep. Bobby Rush was passed on Wednesday, February 26 – 65 years after Till was brutally lynched in Mississippi.

The United States Congress had failed to pass the anti-lynching legislation nearly 200 times.

The first bill was introduced in 1900 by North Carolina Rep. George Henry White, the only black member of Congress at the time.

The text of the bill which passed with broad bipartisan support in a 410-4 vote documents the violent and racist legacy of lynching in America.

It also outlined the many unsuccessful attempts to make lynching a federal crime that dates back to the 1900s.

“The crime of lynching succeeded slavery as the ultimate expression of racism in the United States following Reconstruction,” the bill states in part adding that, “at least 4,742 people, predominantly African Americans, were reported lynched in the United States between 1882 and 1968.”

“Only by coming to terms with history can the United States effectively champion human rights abroad,” the measure added.

For Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., who represents the area where Till was abducted and murdered, the bill was long overdue, adding: “No matter the length of time, it is never too late to ensure justice is served.”

Despite the disturbingly harrowing history that called for and justified the enactment of such legislation, four members of Congress voted against it. 

They are Independent Rep. Justin Amash and Republicans Ted Yoho of Florida, Louie Gohmert of Texas and Thomas Massie of Kentucky. 

Sixteen members did not vote, reported Newsweek.

This article, therefore, examines the reasons why the aforementioned lawmakers refused to vote for the measure.

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