Ida B. Wells (1862-1931)

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Ida B. Wells
NY Times / Cihak and Zima/University of Chicago Photographic Archive

Ida B. Wells was a journalist, abolitionist, feminist and activist who led an anti-lynching campaign in the United States in 1892. In 1893, she published A Red Record which was a personal examination of lynchings in America. She lectured abroad to gain support for her cause. In 1898 she brought her anti-lynching campaign to the White House and lead a protest calling for President William McKinley to make reforms.

She co-founded the National Association of Colored Women (NACW) and is also considered one of the founding members of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

As a journalist, several of her articles were published in black newspapers and periodicals under the pen name “Iola”. She wrote about issues of race and politics in the South and eventually became the owner of Memphis Free Speech and Headlight and the Free Speech.

Earlier life: Wells was born into slavery in Mississippi. Six months after her birth, along with the rest of her family and other slaves of the Confederate state, they were ordered free by the Union thanks to the Emancipation Proclamation.

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