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Thoroughly appalled and sickened by the rising numbers of white-on-black murders in the South since the beginning of Reconstruction, and by the unwillingness of local, state and federal governments to prosecute those who were responsible, Ida Bell Wells-Barnett wrote Southern Horrors, a pamphlet in which she exposed the horrible reality of lynchings to the rest of the nation and to the world. Wells explained, through case study, how the federal government's failure to intervene allowed Southern states the latitude to slowly but effectively disenfranchise blacks from participating as free men and women in a post-Civil War America with the rights and opportunities guaranteed to all Americans by the Constitution.
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