Washington (US), March 30: U.S. President Joe Biden signed legislation Tuesday afternoon to make lynching a federal hate crime for the first time in American history.
"The law is not just about the past. It's about our present, and the future as well," Biden said in remarks from the White House Rose Garden to mark the signing.
He also stressed that U.S. civil rights leaders and lawmakers have been working for more than 100 years to pass such a bill.
Biden was joined by Vice President Kamala Harris, who co-sponsored a version of the bill when she served in the Senate, as well as other political and civil rights figures.
Harris called lynching a "stain on the history of our nation."
"Racial acts of terror still occur in our nation," she said. "And when they do, we must all have the courage to name them and hold the perpetrators to account."
The legislation is named after Emmett Till, a 14-year-old African American boy beaten and killed by two white men in Mississippi in 1955.
The Senate passed the bill by unanimous consent on March 7, one month after the House passed it. The law designates lynching as a hate crime punishable by up to 30 years in prison.
Tuskegee University, which tracks the history of lynchings, estimates more than 4,700 people were lynched from 1882 to 1968, the majority of them African Americans.