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“Let me give thanks for your faithful paper on the lynch abomination,” Frederick Douglass wrote to Ida B. Wells, introducing her pamphlet on lynching, ‘A Red Record.’  “Brave woman! you have done your people and mine a service which can neither be weighed nor measured,” he went on.

Once one apprehends the extent of the prophetic journalism and anti-lynching activism of Ida B. Wells, it becomes difficult to see her as anything but one of the greatest Americans ever, at the pinnacle of the category of “unsung heroines.” Wells, who was born a slave and died in a new century as a lauded activist, editor, speaker, and journalist, is deserving of far more public memorializing than so many of the mediocre leaders whose busts decorate our marble halls.

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