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Durbin Statement on Senate Passage of the Emmett Till Antilynching Act

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today released the following statement regarding Senate passage of the Emmett Till Antilynching Act:

“Last night, the Senate unanimously passed the Emmett Till Antilynching Act, which finally explicitly designates lynching as a hate crime in this country. There are direct links to this historic moment, the State of Illinois, and the City of Chicago.

“Congressman Bobby Rush led the effort in the House and deserves our praise and thanks for his determined effort to enact a law, which arguably addressed the most controversial race issue facing Congress since the Civil War.

“Though lynching may be yesterday’s issue to many, it reflects one of the darkest chapters in our nation’s history. And we should not ignore the reality that at least 56 documented lynchings occurred in Illinois, the Land of Lincoln.

“The impetus for the passage of this law can be directly linked to the tragedy of Emmett Till, a fourteen year old boy who was murdered in Mississippi in 1955. When his mutilated body was returned to Chicago, his mother, Mamie Till Mobley, made the courageous decision to open his casket so everyone could see what happened to her son. Countless Americans, Black and white, trace their commitment to civil rights to that moment. Bobby Rush dedicated his bill to Emmett Till’s memory and because of his efforts, it will soon be signed by President Biden.”