U.S. House passes federal anti-lynching bill

The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday (February 26) voted overwhelmingly in favor of designating lynching a federal hate crime after more than a century of trying.

"We sent a strong message that violence - and race-based violence in particular - has no place in American society," said Democratic Representative Bobby Rush of Illinois - and sponsor of the bill - ahead of the vote, which was ultimately approved by 410 lawmakers.

Only four voted against - three Republicans and 1 independent.

Lynching refers to the murder of thousands of Americans, most of them black, between the 1880s and 1960s, as African Americans struggled for their rights as U.S. citizens in the aftermath of the Civil War in which Southern states fought in vain to maintain black slavery.

The House bill was named after Emmett Till, a 14-year-old black boy who, in 1955, was beaten, shot and mutilated in Money, Mississippi, four days after it was alleged that he had flirted with a white woman.