There really are some incredible women in our past, our present and to-be in our future. One of which is a brave African-American journalist, newspaper editor, suffragist and civil rights leader named Ida B. Wells.
She was a force to be reckoned with.
Ida B. Wells was born July 16, 1862 in Holy Springs, Mississippi. In the late 1880’s, Wells worked as a teacher at a segregated-all-black elementary school to provide for her siblings after the death of her parents and a younger sibling during the 1878 yellow fever epidemic. She resented the fact that she was paid $25/month while white teachers were paid more than triple the amount, ~$80/month. Fueled by her resentment and the “reign of terror” violence that came down on African-Americans, Wells used her talents in writing and social skills to spread awareness about the plight of the negro people. She wrote extensively on the lynchings that were still taking place in America post-Civil War’s Emancipation Proclamation of 1863. A lot of Wells writing assessed the motives behind the violence black people were experiencing. Like the lynchings, she believed it was done to tame and stifle the growth and ambitions of blacks who competed with whites. In addition to Wells’ active involvement in the civil rights movement, she was also an activist of the women’s suffrage movement that fought for the rights of women.
“For more than 40 years, Ida B. Wells was one of the most fearless and respected women in the United States. [She] was one of the most articulate women of her time,” (idabwells.org).
Ida B. Wells
July 16, 1862 – March 25, 1931
“Somebody must show that the Afro-American race is more sinned against than sinning, and it seems to have fallen upon me to do so.”
“The Afro-American is not a bestial race.”
– Ida B. Wells
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Interesting Fact: Wells was one of the first people to fight for blacks’ right to sit wherever they please on public transportation. After being physically forced by the conductor to vacate a Memphis, Tennessee train in 1884, Wells filed a lawsuit against the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad for wrongfully vetoing her decision to sit in the ladies coach section of the train. After articulating her experience in an article, she seemed to have found her calling in writing.
Ida B. Wells is a great person to study for many reasons, especially if you are interested in journalism. Writing this post was both fun and educational – which by the way is #WhatCe’MarieIsAllAbout ;) – it was difficult to stop adding information. We try to keep the posts short and scrumptious – we know how it is to have the attention span of a fly haha jk
Do you have a daughter or know a young girl or boy who is interested in a career in journalism or even just loves to write? Maybe you have someone in mind who could learn something new today (we all do!) why not let that “newness” be about Ms. Ida B. Wells? :) Share or forward this post with a friend and with the friend of a friend. Let’s spread the love ♥