Key features of the bill-
- It is a United States federal law which makes lynching a federal hate crime.
- The Act is named for the black teenager whose brutal murder in Mississippi in 1955 helped spark the civil rights movement.
- Lynching, which typically refers to when an illegal mob kills a person based on their race without due process for the victim, has a long history in the US — tracing back to the 1800s.
- Over the 19th and 20th centuries, thousands, mainly African Americans, were lynched across the United States, particularly prevalent in the southern part of the country after the Civil War.
- Under the new act, an action can be prosecuted as a lynching when a person conspires to commit a hate crime that results in death or serious injury.
- It essentially amends the US’ existing federal hate crime laws, enshrined in the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which was signed into law by former President Barack Obama in 2009.
- As per the bill, perpetrators of a lynching – death or injury resulting from a hate crime – will face up to 30 years in jail.
- In 1900, the first anti-lynching Bill was introduced by George Henry White, who was then the only black man in the Congress.
- Later in the 1920s, the US-based civil rights organisation National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) attempted to pass an anti-lynching Bill, which ultimately led to a federal hate crime legislation being passed.