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lynching will be considered a hate crime, finally

December 20, 2018
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Lynching is finally being classified as a hate crime by the United States Senate.

According to HuffPost, Kamala Harris, Cory Brooker and Tim Scott, the only African Americans on the United States Senate, just got the Justice For Victims of Lynching Act passed in a unanimous vote after almost 200 previous attempts that were shot down over the course of a century. The New York Times reported that from 1882 to 1986, just under 200 anti-lynching bills were presented to Congress and none passed, until now. The bill classifies lynching as an extrajudicial mob killing that will now carry a sentence of up to life in prison owing to a hate crime being added to a murder charge.

Lynching is often labeled as an atrocity of a bygone era but the truth is that it has merely adapted to a modern age, as shown by the countless Black lives lost to white supremacist violence, whether by the police or emboldened racists. It may be a century too late but the enaction of this bill finally addresses a deadly hangover that was a result of lynching not officially being acknowledged and punished as the unspeakable act of racist terrorism that it is. “Literally thousands of African-Americans were being lynched throughout history, and the Senate never stepped up to pass any legislation to stop this heinous, despicable behavior,” Booker told the Times earlier in the year.

According to the NAACP, around 3,450 Black people were lynched in the period from 1880 to the mid-1900s (although the last lynching on record was in 1981). The Legacy Museum and National Memorial for Peace and Justice — better known as the Lynching Museum — was opened in commemmoration of the Black lives lost to the vindictive violence of lynching. If the museum commemorates then this bill will offer a semblance of justice in a country filled with people who share a nostalgia for that dark period in time.

Power and peace to the memories of those that were lost.

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