Ida B. wells

By Asia Ronan

Ida B. Wells was a civil and women's rights activist, journalist, newspaper editor and teacher. She documented lynching in the United States which led to her Anti-Lynching campaign and established many women's organizations. Wells was born into slavery in Holly Springs, Mississippi on July 16th, 1862, right before the Emancipation Proclamation which freed her and her family. Sadly, both Ida's parents and 10 month brother died in a yellow fever epidemic, leaving her, age 16, and 5 siblings orphaned. Eventually, Wells and her siblings moved to Tennessee to be closer to family. During her summer vacations from her teaching job, Ida attended Frisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, leaving her aunt to take care of her younger siblings.
Ida B. Wells had very strong political views and on May 4th 1884, Ida refused to give up her seat in the first class ladies car and move to the smoking car, which was heavily crowded and as a result, Wells was forcibly removed from the train. She later sued the railroad and won her case on December 4th. After the lynching of her friend in 1889 wells wrote in Free Speech and Headlight, which urged blacks to leave Memphis. In October of 1892 a testimonial dinner, organized by political activists, raised significant funds for Ida's anti-lynching campaign and led to the founding of the Women's Loyal Union of New York and Brooklyn. After traveling through Europe and the U.S. teaching and lecturing about the lynching problem in the United States, she settled in Chicago and worked to improve conditions for its expanding African-American population. Wells spent the last 30 years of her life in Chicago raising her family and working on urban reform. In her retirement, wells spent her time writing her autobiography, Crusade for Justice, which she never finished. Wells died while writing her autobiography, mid-sentence, from kidney failure on March 25th, 1931 at the age of 68.