Reps. Bacon, Moulton & Taylor Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Criminalize Lynching
Washington, March 11, 2021
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Representatives Don Bacon (R-NE), Seth Moulton (D-MA), and Van Taylor (R-TX) for the second session in a row introduced bipartisan legislation amending the United States Code to criminalize lynching and provide for enhanced sentencing under existing federal hate crime statutes. H.R. 1727, The Emmett Till and Will Brown Justice for Victims of Lynching Act would recognize that a lynching offense is a tool used to intimidate and deny civil rights based on personal prejudices. In 2020, the text of this bill was amended into the Emmett Till Antilynching Act which passed the House the same year.
Dating back to 1918, there have been over 200 failed attempts to pass anti-lynching legislation and now is the time for Congress to right this shameful failure to criminalize this act. It is an instrument of terror and intimidation. According to the Tuskegee Institute, 4,743 people were lynched in the U.S. between 1882 and 1968 of various ethnicities, the majority being African American.
“The time for lynching to become a federal crime is more than a hundred years overdue. While no legislation can erase the atrocities of history, we must take steps to ensure such tragedies never occur again,” said Rep. Taylor. “This bipartisan bill will help heal painful wounds by finally giving the victims of these heinous crimes and their families the long-awaited recognition they deserve.”
In order for our Nation to heal from past and present racial injustice, Congress must specify criminal penalties for the crime of lynching, or any attempt or conspiracy to commit lynching. Only by coming to terms with our own history can the United States effectively champion human rights abroad. This legislation will accomplish that.