Congressman Bobby Rush

Representing the 1st District of Illinois

Rush Leads 35 CBC Members in Introducing Anti-Lynching Legislation

Jun 13, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Representative Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.) introduced legislation (H.R. 6086) to finally establish lynching as a federal criminal offense.  This bill, cosponsored by 35 members of the Congressional Black Caucus, would amend the United States Code to specify that lynching is a crime in itself that would warrant an enhanced sentence under hate crimes statutes.

“Lynching has never been classified as a federal crime, despite the many attempts over the years.  While many may argue that lynching has been relegated to history, you only need to look at the events in Charlottesville last year to be reminded that the racist and hateful sentiments that spurred these abhorrent crimes are still prevalent in today’s American society,” said Rush.

Congressman Leonidas C. Dyer (R-Mo.) was the first to introduce an anti-lynching bill in 1918.  His bill, intended to punish authorities that failed to prevent lynching, was designed to act as a deterrent that would end the practice.  His bill ultimately died in the Senate after facing stiff opposition.

“Before legislative action occurred, trailblazing women who, with the backing of the NAACP, led the Anti-Lynching Crusaders.  They challenged the horrific, despicable, and racist practice of lynching, which ignited their activism,” said Rush.  African-American women stood at the forefront of public protest of these racially motivated, inhumane, and evil crimes.  It is important that we finish their and Congressman Dyer’s work and that we rewrite the wrongs of history and pass federal anti-lynching legislation.”

Congressional Black Caucus members cosponsoring this legislation include Representatives Danny K. Davis (Ill.), Eleanor Holmes Norton (District of Columbia), Maxine Waters (Calif.), Sanford D. Bishop Jr. (Ga.), James E. Clyburn (S.C.), Alcee L. Hastings (Fla.), Eddie Bernice Johnson (Texas), Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (Va.), Bennie G. Thompson (Mich.), Sheila Jackson Lee (Texas), Gregory W. Meeks (N.Y.), Barbara Lee (Calif.), William "Lacy" Clay Jr. (Mo.), David Scott (Ga.), G.K. Butterfield (N.C.), Emanuel Cleaver (Mo.), Gwen Moore (Wis.), Yvette D. Clarke (N.Y.), Keith Ellison (Minn.), Henry C. "Hank" Johnson, Jr. (Ga.), André Carson (Ind.), Marcia L. Fudge (Ohio), Karen Bass (Calif.), Cedric Richmond (La.), Terri A. Sewell (Ala.), Frederica Wilson (Fla.), Donald Payne Jr. (N.J.), Joyce Beatty (Ohio), Hakeem Jeffries (N.Y.), Alma Adams (N.C.), Brenda Lawrence (Mich.), Bonnie Watson Coleman (N.J.), Dwight Evans (Pa.), Anthony Brown (Md.), and Val Demings (Fla.)

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