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Biden signs Emmett Till bill, making lynching a federal hate crime

Emmett Till
Posted at 12:02 PM, Mar 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-29 16:48:03-04

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden signed the Emmett Till Anti-Lynching Act into law on Tuesday.

"The family of Emmett Till and Ida B. Wells, thank you for never giving up," Biden said after signing the bill.

The legislation will make lynching a federal hate crime.

The Emmett Till Anti-Lynching Act was among some 200 bills introduced over the past century that have tried to ban lynching in America.

The bill makes it possible to prosecute someone for lynching when a conspiracy to commit a hate crime results in death or serious bodily injury.

It carries a maximum 30-year sentence.

The bill is named after Emmett Till, a Black 14-year-old who was kidnapped, beaten and shot in the head in 1955 for allegedly whistling at a white woman in Mississippi.

Vice President Kamala Harris reminded Americans that racism still exists today and a federal lynching law is necessary.

"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," Harris said.