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A Statue Of Ida B. Wells Is Unveiled At Washington, D.C., Middle School

A MARTINEZ, HOST:

A statue of the journalist and activist Ida B. Wells has been unveiled at a new middle school which is named after her in Washington, D.C. In the late 19th and early 20th century, Wells covered stories that weren't being told elsewhere.

MICHELLE DUSTER: She is most well-known for her anti lynching work that she did to expose the realities of what was going on regarding lynching during her time.

NOEL KING, HOST:

That's Michelle Duster, Ida B. Wells' great-granddaughter.

DUSTER: Your opinion does not impeach the facts. To me, that says it all. What she's really well-known for now, as far as being a pioneer in journalism, is that she used names, dates, locations, factual information that nobody could dispute when it came to different lynchings in order to build her case.

KING: That pursuit of truth is something the school's principal, Megan Vroman, says she would like to instill in her students.

MEGAN VROMAN: What can we do to disrupt systems that need to be disrupted? What do we do to elevate causes that maybe aren't as heard in our community, our school community, our broader community? And so we definitely encourage that spirit of, you know, good trouble.

MARTINEZ: Wells' great-granddaughter describes the statue, which stands right in front of the school's main entrance.

DUSTER: It's, like, a huge book. And it looks like Ida is walking out of the block with a lantern. And at the bottom of the inside page of the book, it says the way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth upon them, which is one of her really famous quotes.

KING: Michelle Duster hopes students who pass by that statue come away with one lesson.

DUSTER: That one person can make a difference. Nobody should feel like they have to be like Ida. But they can feel that they can do something that she did in order to make an impact on their own environment in their own situation.

KING: The statue is called "Shine The Light" in honor of Ida B. Wells. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.