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Petition of 2,413 citizens of Massachusetts against lynching and mob violence, January 20, 1900

In his final year in Congress, Representative George White of North Carolina introduced the first bill to make lynching a federal offense, possibly subject to capital punishment. He presented with the bill antilynching petitions signed by thousands of citizens in northern states. The House referred the bill to the Judiciary Committee but never put it to a vote.

Records of the U.S. House of Representatives, National Archives and Records Administration

Petition of 2,413 citizens of Massachusetts against lynching and mob violence, January 20, 1900

Ida B. Wells-Barnett: Antilynching Activism

Incidents of lynching surged in the 1880s as violent mobs brutally murdered persons accused of crimes, disregarding due process of law. Lynching was used against all races, but predominantly against African American males. Muckraker Ida B. Wells-Barnett, a black journalist and civil rights activist, launched a crusade against lynching in the 1890s. In 1900 Representative George Henry White of North Carolina introduced the first antilynching bill in Congress. Similar resolutions followed, but none passed in the Senate. In 2005 the Senate apologized for its failure to outlaw lynching.

In slave times the Negro was kept subservient and submissive by the frequency and severity of the scourging, but, with freedom, a new system of intimidation came into vogue; the Negro was not only whipped and scourged; he was killed.

Ida B. Wells-Barnett, A Red Record, ca. 1895