The Senate finally passed a bill that makes lynching a federal crime.
The Emmet Till Anti-Lynching Act will soon be signed into law by President Joe Biden.
That it took 67 years and more than two-hundred attempts to get the Senate to agree on something so crucial to Black American’s humanity, history, and future, should not take away from the historical hard work of so many champions of justice.
There are many historical Black folk who have demanded, worked, voted, marched, and protested to elected officials to get this done – and up until now, all have been met with closed doors, hard rejections, and requests for patience and… more patience.
Most recently introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Bobby Rush, and introduced in the Senate by Senator Corey Booker and then Senator Kamala Harris, the bill passed a Senate narrowly held by Democrats, proving again that voting and high democratic voter turnout will move the country forward.
The signing event will be must-see television, and we hope that it can even be shown in cities and States that are currently banning lessons that involve atrocities perpetrated by white Americans against Black Americans.
Every step in recognizing Black folk’s humanity is equally worthy of applause and appall.
All Americans should respectfully honor the memory of lynching victims as the bill is acknowledged and signed. The faces – and bodies – of those citizens who had life brutally stolen from them in the name of justice should be as broadly known as the horribly iconic photo of Emmet Till.
Lynching is America’s original terrorism.
It was murder, not justice.
Terror, not due process.
It was white Christians lynching Black Christians.
And most of all, it was white supremacy expressing itself in the most violent way it could and with the approval of local, state and Federal laws and officials.
There were upwards of five-thousand recorded lynchings, with the main targets being Black men, women, children, babies, and seniors. We know there were countless more lynchings, burned cities and homes, and terrorism visited upon Black families than what is recorded so the recorded number should be seen as a very low estimate.
So we acknowledge the efforts of those who worked to make this happen, and we will not allow our earned cynicism to dampen the satisfaction of completing this part of our collective journey to equality.
We have fully earned this step in our journey to full humanity.
We acknowledge Emmet Till and his family for the work they have done since Carolyn Bryant Donham lied on him and her family murdered him.
We acknowledge the work of the NAACP, the Congressional Black Caucus, and all the local activists, parents, siblings, churches, neighbors, teachers, and preachers who have worked to make this happen.
We acknowledge the caregivers, counselors, and aunts and uncles, who picked up the pieces of brutalized families and neighborhoods and rebuilt souls and spirits minute by minute and person by person.
We acknowledge the decades of Black journalists and writers who kept the stories and subjects of the stories centered and alive.
And we acknowledge Black Americans and our Elders who deeply know the trauma of the knowledge of lynchings, and who know so much more than they’ll talk about because they carry unimaginable trauma even now.
We lost loving people, parents and future parents, doctors, teachers, scientists, laborers, lawyers, and incalculable amounts of… love and kindness to the horror of lynching.
We will never forget them.
The Biden/Harris administration and the democrats are delivering on their campaign promises and also on campaign promises from candidates in the past whose efforts were blocked by republicans.
The administration proves time and again they multitask at exceptional levels, in various disciplines, and across the nation and globe. Managing the global response to Russia’s invasion and devastating bombing in Ukraine, working with friends and others, the team is operating at levels unseen since… Obama/Biden were rescuing the economy and also saving millions of jobs.
Mass media and critics too often downplay their significant achievements while playing up smaller more ceremonial achievements just so they can say how unserious the team is.
But let there be no misunderstanding: President Biden & Vice President Harris are again showing their adeptness, versatility, skill, and strategic thinking as they navigate nation and world in crisis.
That they and the democrats got such significant legislation passed at this moment in time, shows the record number of voters who elected them were right.
We will never get back Emmet Till or the thousands of other lynching victims, but for the first time in our nation’s history the Federal government now agrees with what we and our ancestors have always said: Black Lives Matter.
© 2021 by Myron J. Clifton.
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Myron J. Clifton is slightly older than fifty, lives in Sacramento, California, and is an avid Bay Area sports fan. He likes comic books, telling stories about his late mom to his beloved daughter Leah, and talking to his friends.
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