Press Releases


Language Includes Text from Bacon Bill

Washington, D.C.- Last year, Congressman Don Bacon (NE-02) was approached by local leaders to support legislation that would make lynching a federal crime.  After reviewing all legislative options, and believing it was the right one to support, Rep. Bacon introduced H.R. 3536, the Justice for Victims of Lynching Act.  The wording of H.R. 3536 mirrors the language of S. 488, introduced by Sen. Kamala Harris in the Senate, and passed with bipartisan support on February 14, 2019.  It amends the United States Code to criminalize lynching and provide for enhanced sentencing under existing federal hate crime statutes. 

This week, the Judiciary Committee brought to the floor an amended version of H.R. 35, the Emmett Till Antilynching Act, introduced by Rep. Bobby Rush (IL-01-D) in January of 2019. The amended version mirrors the language in both Sen. Harris and Rep. Bacon’s bills. It passed 410-4.

“I am thrilled the House passed the Emmett Till Antilynching Act, to include the verbatim language that was passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in the Senate and that was in my original bill,” said Rep. Bacon. “Omaha has a gruesome chapter in our history with the lynchings of Will Brown and George Smith, who were both sadistically murdered at the hands of angry lawless mobs in Omaha. Today’s vote is a historical one that acknowledges the evil of the 5,000 lynchings in our nation’s history; the fear that African-Americans felt in their homes and communities; and will help with healing and reconciliation.”

Vickie R. Young, President of the NAACP Omaha Branch also commented on the passage.

“We are pleased that the emotional healing process for our community and this great nation has taken another step forward with the passage of the Anti-lynching legislation supported by Congressman Bacon,” said Young. “This important legislation comes after our commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of the lynching of Will Brown in Omaha.”

“I thank the House for passing this rightful redress of those barbaric lynchings so we can reflect the words written on Will Brown’s tombstone, ‘Lest We Forget’,” added Rep. Bacon.