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S. Res. 39, Senate Resolution apologizing . . . for the failure of the Senate to enact anti-lynching legislation, February 7, 2005

Between 1918 and 1960 nearly two hundred antilynching bills were introduced in Congress, largely through efforts of Representative Leonidas Dyer of Missouri, Senator Robert Wagner of New York, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Three passed the House, but Senate filibusters blocked them. In 2005 the Senate apologized, expressing “most solemn regrets” for its inaction.

Architect of the Capitol

S. Res. 39, Senate Resolution apologizing . . . for the failure of the Senate to enact anti-lynching legislation, February 7, 2005

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