Biden signs law named for Emmett Till that makes lynching a federal hate crime

Via WI Examiner:

WASHINGTON — Nearly 70 years after 14-year-old Emmett Till was kidnapped and murdered in Mississippi by two white men, President Joe Biden signed into law on Tuesday a bill to make lynching a federal hate crime. 

“Lynching was pure terror to enforce the lie that not everyone belongs in America,” Biden said at  the Rose Garden signing outside the White House.

The bill is named after Till, a Black teenager from Chicago whose murder in 1955 became a catalyst in the civil rights era after his mother demanded an open casket funeral to showcase the brutalization of her son’s body, whose face was unrecognizable. 

The men accused of his murder, Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam, were acquitted by an all-white jury.  

“Racial hate isn’t an old problem, it’s a persistent problem,” Biden said.

As the president signed the bill, Vice President Kamala Harris and Michelle Duster, the great-granddaughter of Ida B. Wells, stood on opposite sides of Biden. Wells was an investigative Black journalist who documented lynchings across the United States and was a founding member of the NAACP. 

“Through her writing and speaking, she exposed uncomfortable truths that upset the status quo,” Duster said of Wells, adding: “Truth that lynching was being used as an excuse to terrorize the Black community in order to maintain a social and economic hierarchy based on race.

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