CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - For the first time in American history, lynching could become a federal crime after more than a century of tries.
On Thursday, the United States Senate unanimously passed the ‘Justice for Victims of Lynching Act’ which would make lynching a federal hate crime.
South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, along with senators Cory Booker and Kamala Harris, introduced the legislation last year, but the House didn’t take up the measure.
The bipartisan bill would add lynching to the federal list of hate crimes.
It would apply to lynching motivated by a victim’s “actual or perceived religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.”
“Today the Senate sent a strong signal that this nation will not stand for the hate and violence spread by those with evil in their hearts,” Scott said. “I look forward to this important legislation ending up on the President’s desk for signature.”
The bill notes that Congress has attempted to pass anti-lynching legislation over 200 times from 1882-1986.
According to data from the Equal Justice Initiative, there have been 4,084 lynching cases throughout the late 19th and 20th centuries.
In South Carolina, data shows 185 lynching cases were recorded in South Carolina between 1877 and 1950,
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