The Emmett Till Antilynching Act was passed by the House on Monday in a 422-3 vote.
Per NBC News, the legislation—named after the 14-year-old Black teen who was lynched in Mississippi in 1955—was voted against by three Republicans. In a statement, U.S. Representative Bobby L. Rush connected Till’s murder to more recent events of racist violence.
“I was eight years old when my mother put the photograph of Emmett Till’s brutalized body that ran in Jet magazine on our living room coffee table, pointed to it, and said, ‘This is why I brought my boys out of Albany, Georgia,’” Rep. Rush, the Illinois Democrat who sponsored the legislation, said Monday. “That photograph shaped my consciousness as a Black man in America, changed the course of my life, and changed our nation. But modern-day lynchings like the murder of Ahmaud Arbery make abundantly clear that the racist hatred and terror that fueled the lynching of Emmett Till lynching are far too prevalent in America to this day.”
The bill, formally known as H.R. 55, would amend section 249 of title 18 of the U.S. Code to specify lynching as a hate crime act. Rep. Rush previously introduced the Antilynching Act during the 115th Congress, only for it to ultimately be held up in the Senate due to Kentucky Republican Rand Paul.
While co-sponsors of the bill include both Democrats and Republicans, the three who voted against it this week—Andrew Clyde of Georgia, Thomas Massie of Kentucky, and Chip Roy of Texas—are all GOP-affiliated. Rep. Rush himself noted this in a subsequent tweet in which he also referenced previous comments and legislative decisions by the Republicans.
“All Republicans. Surprised?” Rep. Rush said Monday night.