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The Champion

January-February 2012 , Page 5 

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Ida B. Wells and the Sense of Justice (From the President)

By Lisa M. Wayne

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It takes a special spark to ignite a lifelong passion for criminal defense. For many criminal defense lawyers, this process is preordained by our earliest life experiences.

My parents were born into the South in the 1930s — the heyday of hate and Jim Crow. My father’s vivid stories of the injustices he and others experienced while growing up in Mississippi are part of the oral history of my family. Emmett Till and the Scottsboro Boys were more than newspaper headlines; they were the reality of growing up Black and male in the South. My father used to say that justice was a mockery for Blacks in the South. No less defining for me were my mother’s vastly different experiences when she left the South and moved to the Ida B. Wells Housing Projects on the South Side of Chicago.

The housing projects where my mother grew up were named for one of the most courageous women ever to tackle injustice. Ida B. Wells was an African American teacher and journalist born during the Civil

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