Carlyle Fielding Stewart III

Writings on Democracy, Social Justice, and Religion

“America Needs to Finalize an Anti-Lynching Law Now!”

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“Between 1882 and 1968 at least 4,742  predominantly African Americans were reported lynched in the United States of America and ninety-nine percent of all perpetrators of lynching escaped punishment by State or local officials.”

America needs an Anti-Lynching Law which makes it a federal crime against persons who intentionally or wantonly engage in or are accessories to acts of violence, maiming, brutality, murder and any other form of aggression or attacks against African Americans, Native Americans, Asian Americans, Indian Americans, Latino, Hispanic and Chicano Americans, Jews, Arabs and People of Middle Eastern descent, same gender, transgender and any other group persecuted on the basis of race, class, ethnicity, gender, religion, nationality, sexual orientation or for any other purpose which wrongfully and hatefully instigates the denigration, demise, dehumanization and death of such persons.

Despite the fact that the 116th session of the House of Representatives passed  H.R.35 – Emmett Till Anti-lynching Act in 2018 introduced by Chicago Congressman Bobby Rush and Congress over many years has unsuccessfully tried over two hundred times to pass anti-lynching legislation, makes us wonder whether legislators who refuse to enact anti-lynching legislation in the modern era are content to perpetuate the dark cloud and long history of unmitigated murder and the continuing dehumanization and desecration of black people in America which remains an open wound.

That the nation would refuse to pass anti-lynching legislation speaks volumes and ever so loudly which wittingly or unwittingly approves, favors and sanctions lynching as a continuing and relentless threat to black and other people in this country chronically infringing on their right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Moreover, since the history of lynching involves the participation of corrupt and racist police officers who often conspired with angry white lynch mobs in wrongfully persecuting the black accused of everything from crimes of rape and “reckless eyeballing” of white women to other forms of sassing white people, and thereby released those accused persons to mobs to be maimed and murdered before due process or a fair trial could be given to them, such anti-lynching should also include any forms of violence and brutality leading to the loss of health and life committed by police officers, the Klux Klux Klan, Neo-Nazis, the White Citizens Councils, White Nationalist and Alt-Right groups and other citizen or non-citizen individuals or groups responsible for instigating the harm and death of black and other people at the  local, county, state and national levels.

Lynching then is emblematic of a variety of crimes committed against black and other people in America and legislation should immediately be passed to implement swift and appropriate punishment to people who commit such crimes.

This bill is long overdue. Until America passes viable anti-lynching legislation, the dark stain on our nation’s past and present and the ghosts of the many thousands gone will continue to cry out from the grave for justice from race based violence, hatred and evil wrongfully committed against them because of the color of their skin.

America needs to pass an anti-lynching bill now and as long as a bill remains not passed it says to the world that lynching of black people in the United States of America will be tolerated, acceptable and rewarded by giving such horrific actions a pass. We need that bill now!


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