Senate Apologizes for Lynchings

The U.S. Senate formally apologized Monday for blocking efforts spanning decades to make lynching a federal crime. On a voice vote, without opposition, the Senate passed a resolution expressing its regrets to the nearly 5,000 Americans -- mostly black males -- who were documented as having been lynched from 1880 to 1960.

Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., sponsored the apology resolution. She stood before sepia-colored photographs of gruesome lynching scenes, she condemned the lynch mobs of the past and the Senate's inaction.

"The Senate is uniquely culpable," Landrieu said, noting that the House on three separate occasions passed strong anti-lynching legislation and that seven presidents sought it.

No lawmaker opposed the measure, but 20 of the 100 senators had not signed a statement of support shortly before a vote was taken on a nearly empty Senate floor.

A list of some of those that hadn't signed (and this is unconfirmed):


“American history is longer, larger, more various, more beautiful, and more terrible than anything anyone has ever said about it.

James Baldwin

The Mississippi Burning case has been re-opened and a 14 year old lynching victim has been reburied. Emmett Till was allegedly pulled from his bed,beaten, wrapped in barbed wire and lynched for whistling and talking to a white woman. The woman's husband and another man had been found not guilty by an all white jury but later described in a magazine exactly how they perpetrated the crime.

This is a bit more important than the not guilty verdict that will no doubt fill the news for the rest of the week.

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