As the U.S. House and Senate consider legislation to finally make lynching a federal crime, a Kentucky historian who has written a book on racial violence said the shameful actions of the past have lessons for us today.
The anti-lynching legislation being considered by the Senate Judiciary Committee (S. 3178) and the House Judiciary Committee (H.R. 6086) is seen as a way to acknowledge the wrong done by the lynching of more than 4,000 people, mostly African-Americans, from the mid-1800s through the mid-1900s.
The legislation mentions the opening in April of the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama that is dedicated to the legacy of African-Americans terrorized by lynching.
Kentucky native George C. Wright is president emeritus of Prairie View A&M University in Texas and author of the book Racial Violence in Kentucky 1865-to 1940: Lynchings, Mob Rule and "Legal Lynchings." He said understanding the reasons behind lynching has lessons for today.