Black History Month Woman of the Day: Ida B. Wells


Ida B. Wells-Barnett (1862-1931) was a woman of great courage during the civil rights movement. As an African American teacher, journalist and newspaper editor, she wrote about how lynching was used to keep blacks down.

Besides writing, Wells refused to give up her seat on a Chesapeake, Ohio and Southwestern Railroad 71 years before Rosa Parks was made famous for refusing to give up her bus seat. Wells was dragged from the train. After the incident, Ida took legal action and with lots of time, persistence and the right attorney she won the case against the railroad.

Wells was persistent in what she and her writings stood for. She took investigative journalism to a level beyond many others could fathom. In 1896, she founded the National Association of Colored Women, and also founded the National Afro-American Council. Ida traveled through Europe as a crusade for lynching. Her lectures and writings surpassed being unnoticed and were even recognized by greats like Fredrick Douglass.

Her rhetoric style continues to live on as her works are read aloud in classrooms and seminars.

Photo Credit: CyberGround Railroad