The Senate passed the Emmett Till Antilynching Act of 2022 on Monday night by unanimous consent. The bill, which would make lynching a federal hate crime, now heads to President Joe Biden’s desk for his signature.
The legislation was approved by the House of Representatives last week by a vote of 422-3. Passage of the bill is a long-sought goal of advocates, who have been working for years to secure its approval in Congress.
“After more than 200 failed attempts to outlaw lynching, Congress is finally succeeding in taking the long overdue action by passing the Emmett Till Antilynching Act. Hallelujah. It’s long overdue,” said Majority Leader Chuck Schumer in remarks on the Senate floor after the bill’s passage.
That it took so long to pass is a “bitter stain” on America, the New York Democrat added.
“The first antilynching legislation was introduced a century ago, and after so long, the Senate has now finally addressed one of the most shameful elements of this nation’s past by making lynching a federal crime,” he said.
The legislation is named in honor of 14-year-old Emmett Till, who was brutally murdered in a racist attack in Mississippi in 1955, an event that drew national attention to the atrocities and violence that African Americans faced in the United States and became a civil rights rallying cry.
“It is an important step forward as we continue the work of confronting our nation’s past in pursuit of a brighter and more just future,” Schumer said, adding that he looks forward to Biden “quickly” signing the bill into law.