To mark the 90th anniversary of the death of pioneering journalist and activist Ida B. Wells, I highlight some of the most important and lesser known details about her amazing life and work. From the article:
She was one of the most well-connected Black women in America
Wells was one of Black America’s most important leaders in her own right and had relationships with others as well. She counted Douglass as a close friend and mentor, and Douglass in turn often lauded and promoted her work. Concerning their respective writings against lynching, Douglass said, “my word is feeble in comparison” to Wells’ writings. Wells was also active in politics, helping Oscar Stanton De Priest be elected as Chicago’s first black alderman. De Priest would later go on to be the first Black man to serve in Congress in the 20th century.
Wells’ connections were not always friendly. For instance, Wells was a co-founder of the NAACP alongside Black leaders such as W.E.B. Du Bois – whom she mentored and with whom she shared criticisms of the conservative policies of Booker T. Washington. But after her name did not initially appear among the list of NAACP founders, Wells recounted that it was Du Bois who had her name removed from the list. She thought it due perhaps to Du Bois’ personal ambivalence toward her, whom he deemed too radical, or because of his limited experience with and acknowledgment of Black women in leadership roles.
You can read the full article here.