Fellow African-Americans and Friends
We are gathered here on this earth as one. A crucial element in today's society is in the struggle of African-Americans for equal treatment under the law. In fact, a well-known fighter for the rights of all human beings is Ms. Ida B. Wells-Barnett. Your presence here today expresses your concern and shows that you are ready to come together to make a difference from this day forward. I appreciate your being here today in making a difference in the way you and your fellow African-Americans are exploited. It needs to be known that we are all human. Ida B. Wells- Bernett spoke against any injustice of any kind. Her main concern was to stop the lynching of Black Americans.
While in Memphis, Tennessee she began to fight for racial and gender justice. One day in the year 1884 she was asked by the train conductor of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad Company to give up her seat on the train to a white man and was ordered to go and sit in the smoking or "Jim Crow" car.
The "Jim Crow" car was already crowded with other passengers. Despite the Civil Rights Act banning discrimination on the basis of race, creed, or color, in theaters, hotels, transportation, and other public places, the Railroad Company forcefully removed her from the train and the other passengers-all white- applauded. Wells was not going to let them get away with that. When Wells returned to Memphis, she immediately hired an attorney to sue the railroad. Her suit against the Railroad Company not only helped to start her career as a journalist, but also motivated her in her fight for justice.
Federal troops that helped to enforce Reconstruction in the South had been removed for close to ten years.