Anti-Lynching Journalist, Women’s Rights Advocate

Ida B. Wells

(WOMENSENEWS)–In 1892, the newspaper owned by Ida B. Wells in Memphis, Tenn., was burned to the ground in response to her editorial condemning the lynching of three of her friends. Wells fled Memphis and continued her blistering journalistic attacks on Southern injustices, being especially active in investigating and exposing the fraudulent "reasons" given to lynch black men, which had become common in the 1890s. Born a slave and a former school teacher, Wells became a national figure in the anti-lynching movement and wrote "Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All Its Phases." She also became a tireless worker for women’s suffrage and joined in the famous 1913 march for universal suffrage in Washington, D.C. Throughout her life, she continued her passionate advocacy against lynching and for women’s rights. In 1930, a year before her death, she ran for a seat in the state legislature, becoming one of the first African American women to stand for public office.

— Lee D. Baker.



For more information:

Source: Franklin, Vincent P. "Living Our Stories, Telling Our Truths: Autobiography and the Making of African American Intellectual Tradition." 1996: Oxford University Press.