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Ida B. Wells

July 16, 1862 – March 25, 1931

Inducted in 2011

Selected Works


The Red Record: Tabulated Statistics and Alleged Causes of Lynching in the United States (1895)

Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All Its Phases (1892)

Why the Colored American is Not in the World’s Columbian Exposition


Crusade for Justice: The Autobiography of IDA B. Wells, Ida B.Wells and Alfreda M. Duster (1970)

One had better die fighting against injustice than die like a dog or a rat in a trap.

The daughter of Mississippi slaves freed after the Civil War, Ida B. Wells became an early leader in the Civil Rights and women’s rights movements. She came to Chicago to help organize a boycott and contribute to the writing of a pamphlet called Why the Colored American is Not in the World’s Columbian Exposition. She remained in the city and was active in her own Ida B. Wells Club as well as the Chicago Women’s Club. Throughout her career, Wells stood up against injustice, writing, in pamphlets and for media such as the Chicago Conservator, about issues such as lynchings, Jim Crow laws and white suppression of black economic progress. Around 1894, she became the first black correspondent for a mainstream white newspaper. She spent the last 30 years of her life working for urban reform in Chicago. Her autobiography, Crusade for Justice, was unfinished when she died. A Chicago Housing Authority project is named after Wells, a U.S. postal stamp issued with her likeness, and a journalism award and scholarship fund given through the foundation established in Chicago by her five grandchildren.

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