The House of Representatives passed a bill on Feb. 26 that would make lynching a federal crime — paving the way for a federal anti-lynching law after more than 100 years and hundreds of failed attempts.
- Let's take a look at the fight for African-Americans' civil rights, the movement in the 1920s and where it is today in the 2020s. 100 years ago, African-Americans were fighting for their rights and their lives. Jim Crow laws were rampant, and lynchings plagued communities across the United States. In 1922, thousands of African-Americans marched in Washington DC in protest against lynching.
And finally that same year, an anti-lynching bill was passed by the House, but Democrats in the Senate blocked the bill from being passed into law. The loss was a huge blow, especially as hate groups like the KKK were becoming mainstream, even marching in front of the Capitol building in DC with thousands of members in 1925. And 100 years later, racist hate groups are on the rise.
- White power! White power!
- Today, the horror of lynching is remembered at the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama. And in 2020, almost 100 years after an anti-lynching bill failed in Congress, the House finally passed an anti-lynching law. This comes a year after the Senate unanimously approved making lynching a federal crime. In total, it took over 200 attempts for Congress to be successful.
CORY BOOKER: At the height of lynchings across this country, affecting thousands of people, this body did not act to make that a federal crime. I just want to give gratitude to this body for what we have just done.
- And if you're surprised by how long it took for Congress to pass a federal lynching law, you're not alone.
MITCH MCCONNELL: Gosh, I thought we did that many years ago. I-- I thought that was done back during LBJ or some period like that.
- In the 1920s, African-American activists were organizing and laying the groundwork for civil rights movements to come, including silent marches and peaceful protests. That would be a cornerstone of Martin Luther King Jr.'s civil rights movement decades later. The NAACP, first established in 1909, had expanded to more than 400 locations by 1921. And while one of its earliest missions was a crusade against lynching, they also fought for voter participation, employment, due process under the law, and education. Today, the NAACP has over 2,000 locations, and movements like Black Lives Matter--
- Black lives matter! Black lives matter! Black lives matter!
- --are changing the way Americans fight for civil rights and how civil rights are taught in schools.
The fight to end discrimination and racism in the US still has a long way to go and continues today in the new roaring '20s.