Michelle Duster Speaks at White House Bill Signing

Classmate Michelle Duster was an honored guest and speaker at the recent White House ceremony for the signing of the Emmett Till Anti-Lynching Act. Michelle, as you hopefully know from blog posts here, is the great-granddaughter of Ida B. Wells, a groundbreaking journalist and chronicler of the lynchings that were all too prevalent in her time. At the signing, Michelle spoke about Wells and the long history of the legislation.

Michelle Duster ’85 speaking at the White House

“She carefully chronicled names, dates, locations, and excuses used to justify lynchings. She wrote articles and pamphlets and gave speeches about the atrocities. Despite losing everything, she continued to speak out across this country and Britain about the violence and terror of lynching.”

Ms. Duster recounted how Ms. Wells had visited President William S. McKinley in the White House in 1898 to urge him to make lynching a federal crime — to no avail.

“We finally stand here today, generations later, to witness this historic moment of President Biden signing the Emmett Till anti-lynching bill into law,” she said.

You can watch Michelle speak here https://youtu.be/9Fnd_hOa7F8?t=626

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