Congressman Bobby Rush

Representing the 1st District of Illinois

Rush Statement on Plan to Introduce Bill to Make Lynching a Federal Crime

May 7, 2018
Press Release

CHICAGO — U.S. Representative Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.), released the following statement on plan to introduce bill to make lynching a federal crime:

“Today, I announced my intention to introduce a bill to make Lynching a federal crime.  This bill is in part symbolic but relevant.  You only need to look at the events in Charlottesville to be reminded that not too long ago rallies such as those resulted in the Lynching of innocent African-Americans.

“Lynching has never been classified as a federal crime, despite many attempts by various Presidents and legislators. 

“My bill will also provide grants to encourage and preserve the history of the anti-lynching movement.

“The National Memorial for Peace and Justice, which is the nation's first memorial dedicated to the painful history of lynching must not be the last.

“It is also important to remember the role African-American women played in the anti-lynching movement.  It was black women who created the group, Anti-Lynching Crusaders, with the backing of the NAACP.

“The horrific, despicable, and racist practice of lynching spawned their activism.  African-American women stood at the forefront in public protest of these racially motivated, inhumane, and evil crimes.

“Congressman Dyer, who was the first to introduce an anti-lynching bill in 1918, motivated them and helped galvanize a movement.  His bill was intended to punish authorities that failed to prevent lynching and act as a deterrent to end the practice. Unfortunately, it did not pass.

“During this period, women were important and prominent figures.  Before this legislation was introduced they already had a grassroots movement in motion. They were organizing petition drives, fundraising, and educating communities.

“Today, it is important that we finish the work of these trailblazing women and Congressman Dyer and rewrite the wrongs of history.”