Biden signs anti-lynching bill into law

The significance behind the Emmett Till Law


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A woman holds a sign in honor of Emmett Till during a protest on June 13, 2020, in Chicago. Protests erupted across the U.S. after George Floyd was killed while in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25, 2020. Natasha Moustache/Getty Images

Lynching, a form of violence in which a mob, under the pretext of administering justice without trial, excecutes a presumed offender, often after inflicting torture and corporal mutilation. 

According to, lynchings were violent public acts that white Americans used to terrorize and control African Americans in the 19th and 20th centuries, particularly in the South. This violent and hateful act of unlawful justice has now been made a federal hate crime. 

On March 29, 2022, 46th President of the United States, Joe Biden, signed into law the first federal legislation to make lynching a hate crime. The senate recently passed the bill against this act earlier this month. 

“Thank you for never giving up, never ever giving up,” President Biden expresses. “Lynching was pure terror to enforce the lie that not everyone, belongs in America, not everyone is created equal. Terror, to systemically undermine hard-fought civil rights. Terror, not just in the dark of the night but in broad daylight. Innocent men, women, and children hung by nooses in trees, bodies burned and drowned and castrated.”

The Emmett Till Anti-Lynching act is named after the African American adolescent who lost his life, Emmett Louis Till. The fourteen year old was lynched in Missippi in 1955, after being accused of offending a white woman in her family’s grocery store. The woman, Carolyn Bryant fabricated portions of her story about how the boy made indecent remarks and assaulted her. Bryant’s husband and brother abducted Till in the middle of the night and forced him to carry a 75-pound cotton gin fan to the bank of the Tallahatchie River and ordered him to take his clothes off. They proceeded to beat him nearly to death, gouged out his eye, shot him in the head and then threw his body, tied to the cotton gin fan with barbed wire, into the river. 

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored people (NAACP) began lobbying for anti-lynching legislation in the 1920s. Congress first considered anti-lynching legislation more than 120 years ago. 

After nearly 200 failed attempts, a century of failed attempts lynching is now a federal hate crime. Punishable by a maximum of 30 years in prison and fines for anyone conspiring to commit an act of lynching that causes death or injury. 

The house approved the bill 422-3 with eight members not voting. The senate passed the bill by unanimous consent.

“Today I’m thinking of Emmett Till and the countless other victims of this brutal crime we do not know. Emmett Till would have been 80 years old today,” Bobby Rush, Illinois Democratic representative stated. “His lynching ignited the civil rights movement and a generation of civil rights activists. It had a ripple effect that we still feel today; it began a movement to reckon with freedom, justice, and equality all around the world.”

“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,” the first Black and Asian American vice president, who co-sponsored the bill while serving as a U.S. senator from California, Kamala Harris proclaimed. 

Racial injustice is not a thing of the past. In 2020 the FBI submitted data that demonstrated that more than 15,000 law enforcement agencies across the country identified 7,759 hate-crimes, a 6% increase over 2019 and the highest since 2008. George Floyd and Ahmaud Ahbery were both recent examples of lynching. Both men were held against their will, publicly brutalized, and killed at the hands of white men.

Therefore, abandon the mindset that racism is a thing of the past and adopt the mindset that equality is the next step. This does not mean people of color and other minorities have nothing to fear any longer, but this does mean they can at least know that lynchers may get proper justice. The law might also be able to bring greater attention to the various cold cases that involve mysterious deaths of African Americans.