Ida B Wells was an amazing woman. She was a huge figure in both the Civil Rights and Feminist movements. She was a suffragist for women, one of the founders of the NAACP, a pioneer journalist and an all-around champion for the people.
Ida was born a slave in Mississippi the year before the Emancipation Proclamation ended slavery in the rebel states. She was the oldest of her siblings. Ida was always intelligent and started school at Rust College where her father was on the board. Tragically when she was a teen both of her parents dies of yellow fever and she had to go to work as a teacher to take care of her 6 younger siblings.
Ida’s fight as a champion of human rights began when, after being outraged by a train conductor who tried to force her into the black car after she bought a first class ticket, she sued the train company and won, though the verdict was later overturned. This was the beginning of her passion to write about the injustices suffered by black people in the south. She had many articles published across the country and went on to start her own newspaper in Memphis. She continued to teach until her outspoken condemnations of black schools led to her being fired.
Ida was an advocate against lynching and was the first to write accounts of them. She narrowly escaped being lynched herself because of these accounts. She was forced to flee to Chicago. She went as far as to take her fight to the White House and led a march.
She also worked hard on behalf of women. She demanded that unfair, unequal pay disadvantages for women end. She formed the first African American kindergarten. She ran for the state senate, but did not win. She formed many women’s and reform organizations. She marched in the famous 1913 march for universal suffrage in DC. She worked with Jane Addams to block segregated schools in Chicago. Ida also worked against the poor living conditions in the slums of Chicago. She founded a youth center and became the first black probation officer appointed in Chicago.
She was one of the first women to continue to keep her last name after marriage. She died in Chicago at the age of 69. Her legacy is that of being an uncompromising and fearless leader and journalist. Shout out to everybody in Ida B. Wells homes on the Southside of Chicago.