Ida B. Wells


Ida B. Wells

Courageous and outspoken, Ida B. Wells has been equaled by few Americans in her fiery denunciation of discrimination, exploitation, and brutality. At a time when to do so was literally life-threatening, this committed crusader and journalist attacked social wrongs on all fronts, conducted anti-lynching campaigns,, investigated race riots and exposed the oppressive living conditions off African-Americans.. Orphaned at age 14, Wells first became a teacher. She lost her job and found her calling in Memphis when she became involved in a lawsuit after refusing to give up her seat in a railroad car designed for “whites only”–more than 60 years before Rosa Parks ignited the modern Civil Rights Movement with a similar gesture.. After purchasing an interest in the Free Speech, a Memphis weekly, Wells had her press and office demolished by a mob of angry whites, and when she published the details of the lynching of three African-American grocers by their white competitors. Fleeing to New York, she began anti-lynching lecture tours and published Southern Horrors and The Red Record, the first statistical study of lynching, which won her an international reputation.. In 1893, Wells attended the World Columbian Exposition in Chicago, where she joined Frederick Douglass and other leaders in condemning the Exposition for failing to honor the contributions of African-Americans. Settling in Chicago in 1895, she continued too contribute to newspapers and periodicals; founded a settlement house to assist migrant African-Americans in finding jobs and homes; helped organize the NAACP, and devoted much of her later years to promoting voting rights for women through marches and other lobbying activities. Usually determined to move faster and farther than her activist colleagues, Wells often found herself on the fringes of movements for equality for African-Americans and women. But she noted she simply had a vision of a society in which “human beings…. pay tribute to what they believe one possesses in the way of qualities of mind and heart,, rather than to the color of the skin.”


About Author

Leave A Reply