Ida B. Wells Barnett (b. 1862 – d. 1931)

Ida B. Wells Barnett (b. 1862 – d. 1931)

Ida B. Wells-Barnett was born in Mississippi in 1862 and is most known as a journalist and activist. At the age of 18, after dropping out of Rust College, and losing her parents and sibling to yellow fever – Wells-Barnett began her teaching career. After facing instances of racism and discrimination, Wells-Barnett began to write about race and politics in the South using the pseudonym “Lola” – her works were published in black newspapers. She later went on to own two newspapers, The Memphis Free Speech and, Headlight and Free Speech. She was also campaigned against lynching and published many articles on the matter, one of which was a pamphlet titled “Southern Horrors”—often angering southern whites and putting her safety at risk. Her anti-lynching efforts took her to the White House in 1898 where she advocated for reform to President McKinley. Wells-Barnett was also active in efforts for women’s suffrage. She founded the Alpha Suffrage Club and helped to establish the National Association of Colored Women. As a result of her efforts, in 1913, Wells-Barnett was invited to march in the 1913 Suffrage Parade in. D.C. Wells-Barnett, while instructed by white club organizers to march at the back of the parade – took a stand for women of color and demanded equality, marched in the parade.

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Women’s History Museum Short Biography:

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