Los Angeles Times

Commentary: Congress can help atone for the nation's horrific past by finally making lynching a federal crime

Since the Civil War, Americans have struggled to define what seems to be obvious: What is a lynching? It conjures visions of a mob pulling a man from a jail cell, hauling him to a tree and throwing a rope over a branch. But debates have centered on how many people must take part in such an extrajudicial killing for it to qualify as a lynching (the NAACP suggested in 1921 at least five).

And must the motive be racial? Was the hanging of a suspected white horse thief in the Wild West by ranch hands the same as a white Southern mob, amid taunts, jeers

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