Dyer Anti-Lynching Bill (1922)

In 1922 the US House of Representatives passed the Dyer Anti-Lynching Bill first introduced by Leonidas C. Dyer, a Republican Congressman from Missouri in 1918.  The bill was designed to make lynchings and mob violence a federal felony.  Supporters argued that lynchings and mob violence violated “equal protection of the law” under the 14th Amendment.  These crimes were to be punishable by a maximum of 5 years in prison, a $5,000 fine, or both for any state or city official that failed to protect and prosecute those responsible for violence; a minimum of 5 years in prison for anyone that participated in a lynching; and a $10,000 fine to be paid by the county in which the lynching took place (which would then be distributed to the victim’s family).  The bill never came to a vote in the US Senate in 1922, (and then failed again in 1923 and 1924) due to filibusters by white Democrats in the South who dominated by one-party rule.  Note the words “assemblage,” “mob,” “death,” and “riotous” in this word cloud.  The word lynching does not appear except in the title of the bill.

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