After more than 200 failed attempts, the Emmett Till Antilynching Act was finally passed in a House vote 422-3. This makes lynching a federal crime in the U.S.
The act becomes a law just as Rep. Bobby Rush of Illinois, the home state of the young Till who was savagely beaten to death in 1955, plans to retire. Now, it’s onto the Senate where there is sure to be a few more rejections from GOP members.
Passage of the act in the House came to mind as President Biden delivered his state of the union address, where he noted that two other pieces of legislation need to be passed—the Freedom to Vote Act and John Lewis Voting Rights Act. Bringing lawbreakers into court facing charges of lynching is one thing, getting voters the protection and guarantees they need to exercise their franchise is quite another.
And with the midterm elections looming ever closer and the GOP and its cronies doing all it can to block voters, getting these measures into law becomes increasingly important.
Yes, it took a number of times to get the Till bill enacted and hopefully approved, and let’s hope it doesn’t take as long to deal with these pressing proposals.
We have here lately witnessed several positive developments in the courtroom and electoral arena, and this is just the kind of momentum we need to make sure the Democrats hold on to Congress. Of course, it will be an uphill battle, but as Biden said on Tuesday evening, we Americans have met every crisis as an opportunity, an opportunity for possibilities.