On This Day

Ida B. Wells

Civil Rights Leader, Journalist and Suffragist Ida B. Wells

Full Name: Ida Bell Wells-Barnett
Profession: Civil Rights Leader, Journalist and Suffragist

Nationality:
United States of America
American

Why Famous: Born into slavery in Mississippi, Ida B. Wells went on to become a prominent journalist, civil rights activist and suffragette who led a campaign exposing lynching in southern states.

After her parents died in a yellow fever epidemic, Wells moved to Memphis Tennessee to work as a teacher to help support her family. After one of her friends was lynched, Bells began investigating cases of lynching and white mob violence. After her pamphlet ""Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All Its Phases"" was published in 1892, an opposing mob attacked and burnt her printing press and she moved to Chicago. Encouraged to go on a speaking tour of Europe by Frederick Douglass, Wells successfully toured Britain in 1893 and 1894 publicizing the issue of lynching.

Wells married fellow activist Ferdinand Barnett in 189, working together they had organized a black boycott of the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893.

Wells often came into conflict with fellow suffragettes for confronting them over their opinions on lynching. She was a founder of the National Association of Colored Women’s Club which fought for suffrage and was present at the founding of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), though her name was left out.

Wells also marched in the 1913 Suffragette march in Washington D.C., refusing to be segregated and march at the back, but sneaked into the march to join other white marchers from her state of Illinois.

Born: July 16, 1862
Birthplace: Holly Springs, Mississippi, USA
Star Sign: Cancer

Died: March 25, 1931 (aged 68)
Cause of Death: Uremia (kidney failure)

Articles and Photos

Married Life

  • 1895-06-27 Journalist Ida B. Wells marries attorney Ferdinand L. Barnett at Bethel AME Church in Chicago

Historical Events

  • 1892-10-26 "Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All Its Phases" first published by African American journalist Ida B. Wells in Memphis, Tennessee
  • 1909-02-12 National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) forms
  • 1913-03-03 Woman suffrage procession through Washington, D.C. organized by Alice Paul and Lucy Burns and led by Inez Milholland. Ida B. Wells marched with her Illinois delegation despite blacks being told to march in a separate section.

Biographies and Sources