1918 April 1

Dyer Anti-lynching Bill Introduced in House

 

Rep. Leonidas Dyer, Republican of Missouri, introduced the first anti-lynching bill in Congress on this day. The following year, civil rights activists held the first national anti-lynching conference in New York City, on May 5, 1919. Initially, some leaders of the NAACP were reluctant to support a federal anti-lynching law, believing that it would not be constitutional. They changed their minds by the early 1920s, however, and a federal anti-lynching law became one of the major goals of the NAACP in the 1920s and 1930s. Despite decades of lobbying, however, Congress never passed a law making lynching a federal crime.

The U.S. Senate issued a formal apology on June 13, 2005 for never passing an anti-lynching law.

Rep. Dyer served in the House of Representatives from 1911 to 1933. Read his official House biography:http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=D000591

Learn more about the Dyer anti-lynching bill: http://www.blackpast.org/aah/dyer-anti-lynching-bill-1922

See the horrors of lynching: Dora Apel and Shawn Smith, Lynching Photographs (2007)

Read the 2015 report on the number of lynchings: Equal  Justice Initiative, Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror (2015)

On the Anti-lynching campaign read: Robert Zangrando, The NAACP Crusade Against Lynching, 1900–1950 (1980)

Learn more about Rep. Dyer and the anti-lynching bill: Cameron McWhirter, Red Summer: The Summer of 1919 and the Awakening of Black America (2011)

Watch a documentary on the history of lynching in America: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oYFqv_mRMPI

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