Ida B. Wells, 1862 – 1931
Born into slavery, Ida B. Wells devoted nearly 50 years of her life to fearlessly fighting for racial justice, civil rights, and women’s suffrage.
In 1884, while working as a teacher in the Shelby County school system in Memphis, Ida was forcibly removed from her seat in the “ladies car” for refusing to move to a segregated railcar. She sued the Chesapeake, Ohio, and Southwestern Railway, and wrote an article about what was done to her. This inspired her career as an uncompromising journalist and newspaper owner (the Memphis Free Speech), who courageously used her platform to expose racial injustice, challenge segregation, and launch what became a four-decade-long anti-lynching campaign, after three of her friends, enterprising grocery store owners, were brutally murdered by a white lynch-mob in 1892.
Ida B. Wells was posthumously named a 2020 Pulitzer Prize Winner in Special Citations and Awards “For her outstanding and courageous reporting on the horrific and vicious violence against African Americans during the era of lynching.”
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