When I first started researching Josie, six years go, and her story started unfolding in front of me, I told my friend Billy Bam that I was going to do my best to make sure that Dr. Josephine English Wells became a household name. I wanted every elementary school student to learn her name, know of her achievements and contributions. For if Josie’s story could be forgotten, someone who achieved SO much, what hope did the rest of us have? I literally tell everyone I meet about Josie. I pass out cards with findingjosie.com on them. My friends know if I say “oh my gosh…” it’s usually about Josie. I’m going to say something a little smooshy here, sometimes it’s easy to feel invisible…unimportant. Like you don’t matter. Finding Josie and telling her story gave ME a moment to feel like I mattered, like I was doing something important. My story has always been a little wrapped up in Josie’s.
The last few weeks have been crazy. People have been contacting me about doing speaking engagements about Josie, and researchers contacting me about her story. It is surreal. People are learning her name. Finding Josie has been read in Costa Rica, Germany, Ireland….China! So many countries I can’t name them all. People, from different cultures and countries are reading about her and perhaps feeling emboldened and encouraged by her strength. I am at the same time excited and hesitant and even a little nervous.
But the main purpose for this little mini post is to share an amazing bit of news. (SHOUT out to Sandra Parham at Meharry for making it happen!)
(DRUM ROLL PLEASE)
This Friday May 20th at 1 PM a Tennessee State Historic marker will be dedicated at Meharry Medical College for Dr. Josie Wells. Meharry Medical College, a place that was a part of Josie’s heart and soul will be home to a marker for a woman whose name should never have been forgotten. Now students will pass by her maker and see her name and repeat it. They will maybe pause and read about her achievements. Be inspired. Most importantly, one by one, people walking past that sign will learn her name. Dr. Josie E. Wells.