WASHINGTON (Fwrd Axis) — President Joe Biden signed the Emmett Till anti-lynching bill into law on Tuesday afternoon, making lynching a federal hate crime after numerous failed attempts over the years.
The Senate cleared the bill on March 7 by a unanimous vote but three Republicans in the House voted against it: Reps. Thomas Massie of Kentucky, Chip Roy of Texas, and Andrew S. Clyde of Georgia. The bill passed with a 422-3 vote on Feb. 28.
The bill is named after Till, a 14-year-old Black teenager from Chicago who was abducted, tortured, and shot in the head in 1955. Speaking at a signing ceremony at the White House, Biden said the antilynching law is not just about what happened then but now, referencing the shooting of Ahmaud Arbery in 2020 and the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017.
“From the bullets in the back of Ahmaud Arbery to countless other acts of violence, countless victims known and unknown, the same racial hatred that drove the mob to hang a noose brought that mob carrying torches out of the fields of Charlottesville just a few years ago — racial hate isn’t an old problem. It’s a persistent problem,” he said.
Vice President Kamala Harris spoke and said since anti-lynching legislation was first introduced in Congress in 1900, “anti-lynching legislation has been introduced to the United States Congress more than 200 times.”
“Lynching is not a relic of the past. Racial acts of terror still occur in our nation. And when they do, we must all have the courage to name them and hold the perpetrators to account,” she said.
“My cousin was a bright, promising 14-year-old from Chicago,” Till’s cousin, the Rev. Wheeler Parker Jr., said in a statement. “My family was devastated that no one was held responsible for the abduction, torture, and murder of Emmett. But we are heartened by this new law, which shows that Emmett still speaks in powerful ways to make sure that no one can get away with a racist crime like this ever again.”