Ida B. Wells


Teacher, Journalist, Newspaper Editor, Civil Rights Activist, Women’s Rights activist, Ida is probably best known (although not well known) for her work investigating and reporting on lynching in the US during the 1890’s. Before her and others’ research, lynching was considered to be a justifiable and accepted reaction to white women being raped by black men. Ida found evidence to the contrary; black men were lynched for failing to pay debts, not appearing to give way to whites, competing with whites economically, and being drunk in public. She concluded that lynching was done primarily as a form of social control, and also concluded that most “rapes” between black men and white women were consensual. Her findings absolutely enraged white men in Memphis, who responded by forming a mob and destroying Ida’s offices and threatening her life.
Ida B. Wells was also a founding member of the NAACP, but her name was excluded from the original list of founders. In her autobiography, Ida states that W. E. B. Du Bois intentionally left her off the list (while they did collaborate on occasion, Wells and Du Bois also competed a lot at the time for attention).

After watching a pretty surreal press conference today, I thought it important to highlight an extremely driven and courageous journalist/activist. #WCW

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