“The way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth upon them.”
– Ida B. Wells-Barnett
|Ida B. Wells
[photo from cuny.edu]
Born into slavery in 1862, Ida B. Wells was a child when she and her family were freed by the Emancipation Proclamation. There was still a long way to go, however, to achieve equality and peace – especially in the south. Ida’s childhood in Mississippi was a happy one, though not without its challenges, and she enjoyed going to school and learning to read and write. After losing both of her parents and a sibling to yellow fever at age 16, however, Ida relied on her own resourcefulness to rise above her circumstances and care for her siblings. She became a teacher and soon moved with her sisters and brothers to Tennessee.
It was here that Ida was exposed to Jim Crow laws and the severe and violent injustices toward African-Americans. Enraged by what she saw and experienced, she began to write articles and pamphlets, becoming a journalist to expose lynch mobs that still thrived in the south. Despite several threats on her life, Ida continued to crusade for civil rights equality in any way she could, promoting her anti-lynching campaign by lecturing throughout the United States and abroad.
She had a great hand in the formation of several civil rights groups, including the National Association of Colored Women and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and became a widely respected early activist.
|‘Yours for Justice, Ida B. Wells’
Written by Philip Dray
Illustrated by Stephen Alcorn
All of this just scratches the surface of Ida’s great accomplishments. For more information about this incredible woman, visit the following links and look for Yours for Justice, Ida B. Wells at your local bookstore!
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