Ida B. Wells-Barnett - Writer and Revolutionary
Ida B. Wells was an anti-lynching crusader, suffragist, women's rights advocate, journalist, and speaker. She spent only the first six months of her live as a slave, but she spent the rest of it fighting for the rights of freed blacks. Ida was born six months before the Emancipation Proclamation on July 16, 1862; in Holly Springs, Mississippi. She died at the age of sixty-nine on March 23, 1931.
Even though her parents had been enslaved, they were able to support their family because her mother was a "famous" cook and her father was a skilled carpenter. When Ida was 14, she lost both her parents and three of her siblings to an epidemic of Yellow Fever.
She went to Rust College, a school established by the Freedmen's Bureau to educate former slaves; and by the time she was 16, she was a country school teacher and took care of her five younger siblings.
In the Fall of 1884, Wells was teaching at a school in Memphis, and she taught there until 1891. She was dismissed from the school system because of an article she wrote criticizing the Board of Education for unequally distributing resources allocated to the segregated schools. She devoted herself to educating black children, and built up her own academic skills by taking summer classes at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee.
Memphis is where she literally began to fight for racial and gender justice. In 1884 she was riding a Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad Company train and was asked by the conductor to move from the ladies' coach to the smoking car. Wells refused and was forced to leave the train. When she got back to Memphis, she filed a lawsuit against the company, and the Memphis court ruled in...