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In 1884 Wells sued the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad for having been forcibly removed from her seat after she had refused to move to the "colored only" car. Although she won her case in the local circuit court, the Tennessee Supreme Court reversed the decision in 1887, in defiance of the 1875 Civil Rights Act that prohibited discrimination on the basis of race, creed, or color in theaters, hotels, transports, and other public accommodations.
Using the pen name "Iola," Ida B. Wells wrote newspaper articles in 1891 that were critical of the education available to African American children. When her teaching contract was not renewed, she turned to journalism, buying an interest in the African American weekly "Memphis Free Speech."
In 1892 three of her friends, owners of the People's Grocery Company, fought back when a white mob attacked their store. One of the attackers was shot. The owners were arrested, but a lynch mob broke into the jail, dragged the owners away, and murdered all three. Wells began an editorial campaign against lynching that led to the ransacking of her newspaper's office. She continued her antilynching crusade by moving to New York where she worked as a staff writer for the African American newspaper "New York Age," published the pamphlet "Southern Horrors" (1892), and lectured and organized antilynching societies, speaking in Northern U.S. cities and in Britain.
Wells moved to Chicago where she married Ferdinand L. Barnett, a lawyer and editor. They had four children. She contributed to her husband's newspaper, the "Chicago Conservator", and to other local journals; published a detailed look at lynching in the pamphlets "A Red Record" (1895) and "Mob Rule in New Orleans" (1900); and was active in organizing African American women to confront issues from lynching to universal suffrage.
From 1898 to 1902 Wells-Barnett served as secretary of the National Afro-American Council, and in 1910 she founded and served as first president of the Negro Fellowship League, which aided newly arrived migrants from the South. From 1913 to 1916 she served as a probation officer of the Chicago municipal court and organized legal aid for the victims of the 1918 Race Riots. She was one of the founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, but was opposed to the accommodationist strategies of Booker T. Washington.
Wells-Barnett died March 25, 1931, in Chicago. Her autobiography, CRUSADE FOR JUSTICE, was published posthumously in 1970. In honor of her work in Chicago, the city named a housing project after her.
This book is rich with historical information rarely seen. I'm so glad Amazon had this book. Anyone serious about black history should add this book to their library.Published on May 24, 2013 by johnnie Bell Jr.
Ida B. is my sHero. Recommended reading for all Americans, especially those that see no "harm" in displaying a noose here and there.Published on June 1, 2010 by Charmed Muggle