A bill to make lynching a hate crime under federal law passed the House on Wednesday, making it the first attempt since 1900 to successfully make its way through Congress.

The legislature is titled the Emmett Till Anti-lynching Act, an ode to Till, a 14-year-old African American boy who was kidnapped, beaten and lynched in 1955 after he was accused of whistling at a white woman.

The vote was 410-4. The members who voted against were Independent Rep. Justin Amash and Republican Reps. Louie Gohmert, Thomas Massie and Ted Yoho.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer classified lynching as

The premeditated, extrajudicial killing by a mob or group of people to instill fear."

He also said it was "long overdue" and had the following add:

"Lyching is a blot on the history of America, but the even greater blot is the silence that for too long maintained in the context of what people knew was happening,

The bill describes lynching as an act willfully done by a collection of people who assemble with the intent to commit violence on another human and then cause that person's death, according to a copy of the bill.


Lynchings were used in the U.S., predominantly in the South, from the 1880s to 1960s to terrorize black Americans. From 1882-1968, 4,743 lynchings occurred in the U.S., with 3,446 involving victims who were black, according to the NAACP.

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