16 Jul Happy Birthday Blog: Ida B. Wells
Ida B. Wells-Barnett
Born: July 16, 1862
Holly Springs, Mississippi, USA
Known For: Teacher, Journalist, Civil Rights and Women’s Rights Activist
I would like to add Ida B. Wells to the long list of people I feel like I should have learned about in school but didn’t. We love highlighting histories and stories of women on our blogs that deserve more attention on a local, national, and international level.
Ida was born a slave in Mississippi in 1862 and gained her relative freedom from slavery with the Emancipation Proclamation. Still living in the highly segregated and racialized South, she experienced racial discrimination while growing up.
Ida is most known for her journalism/activism and the light she shed on the practice of lynching black people in the American south. After 3 black men were lynched in Memphis in 1892, she began to travel the South, writing stories about the lynchings and raising awareness. This led her to eventually travel around the US and the world speaking about the oppression of black people and women.
She was one of the original founding members of the NAACP and in 1896 founded the National Association of Colored Women. Later in life she worked for women’s rights and suffrage issues. She worked with the National Equal Rights League and called on President Wilson to end discriminatory practices in hiring women.
She left behind her a long legacy of political activism and social justice work. For her remarkable contribution to the advancement of black and women civil rights, we celebrate her and her birthday today!
You can learn more about Ida and her life here.