ADL Welcomes Senate's Apology for Failure to Enact Anti-Lynching Law
Washington, D.C., June 15, 2005…The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today commended the U.S. Senate for passing a resolution apologizing for its repeated failure to enact a federal law that would make lynching a crime.
"Lynchings were among the first hate crimes in this nation, and this apology is long overdue," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "This Senate resolution has special meaning for us, not only because of our pioneering work on hate crimes laws, but also because at the time of our founding 92 years ago, we were galvanized to action by one of the most notorious lynchings in American history, that of Leo Frank, a Jew lynched in Georgia. We commend the Senate for finally recognizing both the symbolic and contemporary importance of criminalizing this heinous practice."
Anti-lynching legislation was first introduced in Congress 105 years ago. Three anti-lynching measures were passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in the first half of the 20th century. However, each measure ultimately died in Senate where Southern conservative lawmakers expressed concern for states' rights and used filibustering tactics to defeat the measures.
4,743 lynchings have been recorded in American history, and 3, 446 of them were committed against African Americans. While historically associated with race-motivated hangings in the South, lynching today is more broadly defined as a method of intimidation where mob terrorism is used to humiliate and dehumanize. Lynching touches all races and religions, and warrants specific recognition as a unique felony under the law.
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.