A Timely (and unheeded) Warning

On June 30, 1919, Ida B. Wells wrote a letter to the editor, warning Chicago of the growing threat of racist, anti-Black violence:

An ounce of prevention, beats a pound of cure. And in all earnestness I implore Chicago to set the wheels of justice in motion before it is too late, and Chicago be disgraced by some of the bloody outrages that have disgraced East St. Louis.

The Chicago Tribune published her letter July 7, but her warning was ignored until it was too late.


Writer. Formerly civil rights attorney. Currently professor. Working on new book about mental disability and criminal law in the 20th century.

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