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Congress Passes Bill Making Lynching a Federal Crime

On Wednesday, February 26, Congress officially approved a bill designating lynching as a hate crime under federal law punishable by up to life in prison, a fine, or both.

Originally introduced by Illinois Rep. Bobby Rush, the bill was named after Emmett Till, a 14-year old boy who was lynched in 1955 in Mississippi after a white woman accused him of grabbing her and whistling at her in a Mississippi grocery store. His death is considered the spark that started the Civil Rights Movement.

This bill has had a long history and comes 120 years after Congress first considered anti-lynching legislation and numerous efforts with similar goals were shut down.

The Senate unanimously passed the legislation last year. The House passed the bill 410 to 4 and will now go to the White House, where President Donald Trump is expected to sign it.

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