Writers 2 Remember: Ida B. Wells
American journalist, educator, suffragist, and early leader in the civil rights movement
Ida B. Wells-Barnett lived from July 16, 1862 until March 25, 1931. This remarkable woman was actually born into slavery during the American Civil War, but she gained her freedom through the Emancipation Proclamation. She went on to become a teacher and eventually a journalist.
While she co-owned and wrote for the Memphis Free Speech and Headlight newspaper, she covered racial segregation and inequality. That was when she became passionate about anti-lynching, which became not only her main platform, but that of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) of which she helped to found.
Ida became “a significant figure in the anti-lynching movement.“
1910 – the first president of the Negro Fellowship League
1913 – she founded Chicago’s Alpha Suffrage Club, which was the first Black women’s suffrage group
1913 to 1916 – served as a Chicago municipal court probation officer
Posthumously, Ida was honored in 2020 with a Pulitzer Prize special citation “[f]or her outstanding and courageous reporting on the horrific and vicious violence against African Americans during the era of lynching.” If only we could have shown her the respect and appreciation she deserved while she was alive. For this reason, Ida B. Wells is a writer to be remembered!