Ida B. Wells

Ida B. Wells

… a slanderous and nasty-minded mulatress.

The New York Times

Born into slavery, fired from her elementary teacher position for writing articles that criticized the conditions of Black schools, driven from Memphis by the mob that destroyed the offices of her newspaper, Ida B. Wells just kept writing and speaking.

She wrote articles and pamphlets that exposed the predominance of lynching and racist violence in the South, despite the personal attacks they invited from all quarters, even the nation’s newspaper of record.

And despite the noise, she managed to reach people who were open to her message and make a difference. She helped lead to a British boycott on Southern cotton, and successfully argued against the segregation of Chicago public schools. A century after her struggles in the public eye, she now appears on an honorary postage stamp. She received a posthumous Pulitzer Prize special citation. And the New York Times published a belated obituary for her, entitled “Overlooked.”