ADL Lauds House Passage Of Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act
Update: The Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act was signed into law by President George W. Bush on October 7, 2008. More
New York, NY, June 22, 2007 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today applauded the near-unanimous passage by the U.S. House of Representatives of The Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act of 2007, and urged the Senate to follow. The measure, H.R. 923, would provide the federal government additional resources to investigate the unsolved crimes of the civil rights era.
Emmett Till, a 14-year-old African-American boy, was savagely beaten and killed by two white men in Mississippi in August 1955 after he allegedly whistled at a white woman. No one has ever been convicted of the crime.
Marvin Nathan, ADL Civil Rights Chair, and Deborah Lauter, ADL Civil Rights Director, issued the following statement:
In the civil rights era, brutal hate crimes such as the murder of Emmett Till too often went unpunished due to corruption, fear and hate. There are still many killers from the civil rights era who have not been brought to justice. This legislation takes a step toward remedying those failures by ensuring that justice delayed is not justice denied.
In recent months, we have seen the surprising and disturbing resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan due to their exploitation of hot-button issues including immigration, gay marriage and urban crime. It is imperative that our leaders continue to demonstrate that there can be no statute of limitations for securing justice – and that hate crimes will not be tolerated. We urge the Senate to promptly approve this measure – as well as the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crime Prevention Act, which will provide essential tools for federal and state law enforcement officials to address this national problem.
It is especially poignant that this measure was approved this week, which marked the 43rd anniversary of the murders of civil rights workers Andrew Goodman, James Chaney and Michael Schwerner at the hands of white supremacists. Though early efforts to punish the perpetrators failed, a measure of justice was obtained in 2005 when one person was convicted of manslaughter for the crime.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.