The Constitution and Civil Rights

By Milton R. Konvitz | Go to book overview

3. Antilynching Bill
H.R. 51
(78th Congress, Ist Session)

In the House of Representatives, January 6, 1943, MR. GAVAGAN introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary

A BILL To assure to persons within the jurisdiction of every State due process of law and equal protection of the laws, and to prevent the crime of lynching.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the provisions of this Act are enacted in exercise of the power of Congress to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of the fourteenth amendment to the Constitution of the United States and for the purpose of better assuring by the several States under said amendment equal protection and due process of law to all persons charged with or suspected or convicted of any offense within their jurisdiction.

SEC. 2. Any assemblage of three or more persons which exercises or attempts to exercise by physical violence and without authority of law any power of correction or punishment over any citizen or citizens or other person or persons in the custody of any peace officer or suspected of, charged with, or convicted of the commission of any offense, with the purpose or consequence of preventing the apprehension or trial or punishment by law of such citizen or citizens, person or persons, shall constitute a "mob" within the meaning of this Act. Any such violence by a mob which results in the death or maiming of the victim or victims thereof shall constitute "lynching" within the meaning of this Act.

SEC. 3. Whenever a lynching occurs, any officer or employee of a State or any governmental subdivision thereof who is charged with the duty or possesses the authority to protect such person or persons from lynching, and neglects or refuses to make all diligent efforts to protect such person or persons from lynching, or who has custody of the person or persons lynched and neglects or refuses to make all diligent efforts to protect such person or persons from lynching, or

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