Ida B Wells: Things You Should Know About this Fearless Activist

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The freedom that we have today is a result of relentless struggle of many women. Ida B Wells is one of the heroes that America looks up to. She was an early leader in the civil rights movement in the US. An African-American journalist, suffragist and feminist, Ida stood up for what she thought was right, and that was equality between all races. She spoke against racism and was brave even in the eye of danger.

She played a key role in shaping the history of the US, and here are a few facts about her that you may not have known:

1. Ida was born in Holly Springs, Mississippi in 1862.

2. When Ida was 16, both her parents died of yellow fever and left her to take care of her five siblings. She began teaching in order to support her family.

3. Ida was dragged off a train when she refused to give up her first-class seat. She then went on to sue to railway authority and was granted a $500 reward.

4. She documented lynching in the US. She said that lynching was used to control black people who competed with or disrespected whites. She warned blacks to flee from Memphis, where lynching was popular.

5. She even started an anti-lynching campaign. With the help of her friends, she spoke at the Black Women’s Clubs and even raised some money to investigate lynchings and publish her results. She published her findings in a pamphlet Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All Its Phases in (1892) and subsequently in a book called The Red Record  (1895). 

6. She was fired from her job as a teacher for speaking up about racism. She then decided to take up journalism.

7. Ida was the only black woman on record to own a one-third stake in a newspaper “Free Speech” and worked as an editor.

8. Wells established the ‘Alpha Suffrage Club‘- the largest black women’s suffrage club in Illinois.

9. She defiantly marched with white suffragists in the National American Women’s Suffrage Association’s Washington DC march in 1913, despite organizers’ telling her that black women should remain at the back of the group.

10. Ida Wells married Ferdinand Barnett in 1895, she remained a working mother even after having three children.

Pic credits: Bio.com

Also read: Arkansas: Women Now Need Permission From Their Men Before Abortion
Read more stories by Nikhita Sanotra