The league started as a rooming house for men but became so much more: It placed black people in jobs, and hosted political meetings and social gatherings. It was a brutal schedule, but one she felt was worth it. Wells is upset not only because of the lynching... MARTIN: And not just that - this was a public spectacle. Wells High School received 19.8% of the vote and the third choice of Piedmont High School received 18.8%. She has a very famous line, a Winchester rifle should have a place of honor in every Afro-American home. She is the author of "Ida: A Sword among Lions." To do that, she worked as a probation officer during the day before heading to the Negro Fellowship League in the evening, often with her children in tow. She was also a co-founder of the NAACP and one of the most powerful voices of the first anti-lynching campaign in America. Wells' work with the Negro Fellowship League paved the way for other organizations addressing the needs of black people arriving in Chicago during the Great Migration, like the Chicago Urban League. The board also awarded a special citation to Ida B. ", According to Wells' great-granddaughter Michelle Duster, Wells' work in education was inspired by her experiences as a mother of black children who did not have the same kind of educational opportunities as some other students. Wells — the journalist and suffragist who spent the 1890s documenting lynching in the United States. Yeah, Mr. Douglass was a frequent worshipper. She mobilized the members of a local women's civic club to create a new kindergarten in a black church. She just felt entitled to do as much as her experience said she was able to do and many disagreed. Ms. GIDDINGS: She's - by the way, the first black woman to co-own a major newspaper in a major city. Wells. But for decades, in spite of her profound legacy, a now-demolished Bronzeville housing project was the only major city landmark to bear her name. But Wells and her group persisted. But some said not so fast and stopped the process to allow the students to weigh in. The main reason is really ideological. It was estimated that maybe a thousand people witnessed this. "Others insisted that the women were trying to take the place of men and wear the trousers.". Campaign signs near an early voting site in DuPage County. Ms. GIDDINGS: That's right. So she asked Curious City: What was Ida B. This is a famous story that I think people know the bare outlines of. In 1913, she founded the first suffragist organization for black women in Chicago, the Alpha Suffrage Club. October 1, 2020 • "How can we tell somebody to be healthy ... and advocate for a healthy lifestyle, and yet we're not living it?" I mentioned that she was born into slavery. Ms. GIDDINGS: What's interesting is, of course, she's one of the first investigative reporters. Wells called for blacks to leave a city that would not protect them, and about 20 percent of the population left which was an economic problem for Memphis. But when she arrived in Chicago, students in her district had only one option for private kindergarten: Amour Institute in what is now the Bronzeville neighborhood. She's not disillusioned. Grady High School is currently named after a 19th-century newspaper editor who endorsed white supremacy. Ms. GIDDINGS: Absolutely. She, you know, doesn't really care so much about that, but what she is afraid of as she reads the telegraphs coming to her is that there's going to be a race war if she returns because black men have also vowed to protect her if she does return. You know we can do something. Wells housing project is the square of plywood nailed over the 14th-floor window from which he was thrown to his death. Wells established the first black kindergarten, organized black women, and helped elect the city's first black alderman, just a few of her many achievements. Tony Raggs, far left, is the manager of the Safe Streets program for ALSO, an anti-violence organization. We're all kind of an interesting moment like that now, and I hope that her hopes will be realized. Ida B. Frederick Douglass worshiped there; Ida B. Journalist and activist Ida B. hide caption. hide caption. Ms. GIDDINGS: This is part of it, but this is not the most important part of it. Wells a special citation for her reporting on lynching. She has also certainly a much more radical idea about gender. In 1990, Wells was also honored as a human rights activist on a postage stamp. Woods was accused of this, was lynched, was stripped naked and her body was shot in two. Wells' solution was to create a new kindergarten in a black church. Ms. GIDDINGS: Eliza Woods was a black woman who was accused of poisoning her mistress - the women who she worked for, a white woman. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record. However, because Wells never received the financial support from Chicago's black middle- and upper-classes that she had hoped for, she eventually funded the league's operations herself. In celebration of Black History Month, we honor trailblazer Ida B. Wells.She was a dogged investigative reporter and publisher who stood up … "The men jeered at [the women] and told them they ought to be at home taking care of the babies," she writes. She believed in being with her children. Author Paula Giddings talks about the book and Wells' historic fight against the inhumane practice of lynching in the U.S. "There is something tremendously powerful about driving into the central business district and seeing her name.". First off, it was done remotely because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. People eat outside of a restaurant in Skokie, Ill., Thursday, June 18, 2020. In 1915, a man named Oscar DePriest became the city's first black alderman. Exactly, exactly. That her printing presses - she came to run a newspaper, were burned, and she was warned not to come back to the city under threat of her life. Three of her friends, and particularly one very good friend of hers, Thomas Moss (ph), she's actually the godmother of his child, is lynched in Memphis in 1892. (Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library). It is time for a special Wisdom Watch. Ida Bell Wells-Barnett (July 16, 1862 – March 25, 1931) was an American investigative journalist, educator, and early leader in the civil rights movement.She was one of the founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). So, in 1910, she created the Negro Fellowship League. "In all of the legacy that she has laid around representation and voice in … Wells, a journalist most famous for the anti-lynching campaign she led from 1893 through 1927. She's best known for her anti-lynching work in the South, but Wells spent nearly four decades advancing black equality in Chicago. After her relocation to Chicago in 1894, she worked tirelessly to advance the cause of black equality and black power. Not just, you know, the civil rights leadership of the time who were often men, but also by women, the suffragist movement, which was largely led by white women. MARTIN: Paula Giddings is the Elizabeth Woodson professor at Smith College. I'm Michel Martin, and this is Tell Me More from NPR News. Leaves for Philadelphia for AME Conference, and discovers before she comes home that she cannot return to Memphis. Wells was a journalist and dedicated her life to fighting racial injustice in the South. Ida B. September 30, 2020 • County clerks say they're seeing renewed interest in early voting in person as some voters express fears about their mail-in ballots being counted. She trained the women in canvassing and organized them to go door-to-door in predominantly black neighborhoods, educating other women on the political process and registering them to vote. "The YMCA, the Young Men's Christian Association, did not welcome black men," says Michelle Duster, an author, educator and great-granddaughter of Ida B. Wells and Booker … Wells Drive is the first street in downtown Chicago to be named after a black woman. The board also awarded a special citation to Ida B. The Pulitzer Prize board awarded suffragist Ida B. To trace Wells' legacy and understand its impact today, we spoke with some of those leaders — including Wells' great-granddaughter. September 29, 2020 • The 108-page report outlines a "public health" approach that includes more community-based investment and victims' services. She wanted to change that. How is she viewed in that circle? This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. And Wells is angry not only because of the horror of the lynching itself, but because no one is protecting this woman, including African-Americans. Ms. GIDDINGS: It was not easy. Wells wrote about this pushback from black men in her autobiography. "When her older children started getting of school age, then she recognized that black children did not have the same kind of educational opportunities as some other students," Duster says. So she was looking for an insurgency of the laboring classes, and believed in a grass roots kind of leadership where others... Ms. GIDDINGS: Not violent, except she did believe in self defense. Katherine Nagasawa/WBEZ She never loses hope, and this gives her another kind of energy always. Along with these acknowl… To learn more, visit www.sap.com/womenforward. And so they made remarkable transitions as freed persons. I talk about this in the book - of Wells when she hears this particularly, it really begins to - and she also understands that lynching is not about men and rape. MARTIN: This is interesting to me because she did a number of really remarkable things. All rights reserved. Wells spoke there. The documentary was reported by LeAlan Jones and Lloyd Newman — both residents of the Ida B. The effort faced surprising resistance: a group of black people argued that creating a new kindergarten would make it more difficult for black children to be accepted at Armour. asked one anti-violence worker. It's the depth of the violence, and it's also the ability for someone to look at it squarely in the face and say no, but this can change. "Chicago, as we have said many a time before, points the way to the political salvation of the race," she once wrote in her club's newsletter, The Alpha Suffrage Record. Tazewell Thompson's first … Wells was born in Holly Springs, Mississippi. She has her last child when she's 42-years-old, and her husband 52. Wells. In the early 1900s, a growing number of black people moved to Chicago from the South. Operas are often about great people doing great things, and a world premiere this week is no exception. And I'm tempted to ask is it because she was hard to get along with? From New York then, she will write her famous editorial, "The Truth about Lynching," the first study of lynching, which will be published in the New York Age. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information. Paul Laurence Dunbar, Ida Wells-Barnett came, as you said, William Edward Burghardt Du Bois. MARTIN: Well, all righty then, you can see why that was controversial. Wells was an investigative reporter who exposed the systematic lynching of black men in the South. She goes to the scenes of lynchings to find out about them. Like us on Facebook Atlanta composer and violist Amy Leventhal has written a new opera based on the life of Ida B. Paul Beaty/Associated Press September 29, 2020 • In her new book, author Isabel Wilkerson argues we have a caste system in the U.S. — and that acknowledging it is an important first step in understanding issues of race. And so she says, you know, this is not worth it. Y Huh/Associated Press Ms. GIDDINGS: This was though, quite tragic, for Ida because both of her parents died within 24 hours of one another in 1878. But she didn't and I'd like to ask you, how she developed this sense of righteous indignation. MARTIN: She came from a remarkable family. Wells believed this type of political progress was possible in Chicago. Ida understood that black people were being criminalized. Ida Wells is the subject of a new biography, "Ida: A Sword Among Lions" by scholar Paula Giddings, who was kind enough to join us in our Washington Studio. On the Arts and Letters side, author Colson Whitehead won his second Pulitzer for his novel, The Nickel Boys. So she decided to do something about it.". Black women today occupy the most powerful seats of local government — at the city, state, and county levels. The other aspect was the fact that Wells never lost faith in the ability of the country to reform. Today, though black Chicagoans still suffer from many inequities in housing, economic opportunity, and education, the movement that Wells launched continues. We can reform the country. Thanks to our presenting sponsor SAP. Claudia Morell/WBEZ Born into … The pioneering investigative reporter and anti-lynching activist Ida B. Her work made her the most famous black woman in … Just in time for women's history month, the book is available at most major bookstores, and Paula Giddings joined us here in our Washington studio. Nam. But as important, the congregation is supported and nourished by everyday people like myself. Patrick Smith/WBEZ And this is what she dedicates her life to talking about. Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan (left) and Gov. Former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Ida B. "We tell people is … Raggs said the work of violence prevention can be taxing, and there's a high risk of burnout. Born into slavery, she became a civil rights pioneer, a crusading journalist who documented atrocities against blacks at great personal risk. JB Pritzker. Well's great-granddaughter Michelle Duster, and Ald. Critics say Henry Grady’s name doesn’t reflect today’s values. We ask her great granddaughter Michelle Duster about Wells’ legacy. But as she worked to mobilize women, she met opposition from two groups: white women, who still did not have the right to vote in all elections, and black men, who legally had full suffrage but still faced unfair voting taxes, literacy tests, and other roadblocks. Kind of a pill? After an angry mob burned the newspaper's office down, she kept going. NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. Wells and other African-American women were told they would be segregated from the main group. Wells housing development, where the crime took place, and both sixteen years old. Mayor Lori Lightfoot released a plan Tuesday that takes a long-term approach to solving the city's entrenched gun violence. Wells. But rather than lobby those organizations to become more inclusive, Wells believed Chicago's black community could collectively help itself. Remorse marks the return of Jones and Newman to NPR’s airwaves. MARTIN: Many know your name from your seminal work, "Where and When I Enter." But when they sought support finding housing and other resources, many white institutions turned them away. Metropolitan AME was founded in 1872 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Born into slavery, Ida B. "In all of the legacy that she has laid around representation and voice in truth-telling," says State's Attorney Kim Foxx. MARTIN: I mentioned that Ida B. She is a very difficult personality. NPR coverage of Ida, A Sword Among Lions: Ida B. The work she did paved the way for generations of black politicians, activists, and community leaders. But not only that, that was one aspect. Wells became Ida B. Wells-Barnett. Her parents managed to become quite accomplished. She's angry a lot, but she's not bitter. She published her writings throughout the U.S. and abroad. Ida B. Starting Oct. 1, the city of Chicago will allow more capacity at bars and restaurants. Wells and Booker T. Washington spoke there. Ida B. MARTIN: What do you mean by this? Wells and Booker T. Washington spoke there. The Ida B. Tell Me More salutes Women's History Month with a commemoration of civil rights pioneer Ida B. But Wells refused, and waited until the procession started before joining the block of women from Illinois. "And there were all of these men that were coming up here who couldn't find a place to stay. And she was right. The oldest of eight children, Ida B. It's also about black women are being lynched as well, and this is important because this is one of the ways she disproves that lynching is always a consequence of rape. Today, Ida B. Wells-Barnett is recognized for her outstanding courage in expanding opportunities for women of color in the suffrage movement, for her journalistic talent, and for efforts to raise awareness of the horrors of lynching. Wells a special citation for her reporting on lynching. Sometimes there's support, but the story of white feminists and black feminists is a difficult one because white women were afraid that if black women were enfranchised, southern legislators would never pass a federal amendment. Board member Leslie Gran told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the views of Grady do not “reflect the values that we want to carry forward.” Wells, a prominent journalist exposed racial violence in the South and led a trip to Washington, D.C. in 1913 to march in the national suffrage parade. Accuracy and availability may vary. MARTIN: And also traveled on her speaking engagements with a nurse and often a baby in tow. MARTIN: How was her work received by her peers? We look at the life of Ida B. Wells. hide caption. Wells Drive were unveiled in February 2019. hide caption. District officials said … Though it accepted both black and white children, it was the first kindergarten created specifically for Chicago's black community. KELLY: Ida B. So this can't be true, there's something else going on. MARTIN: And what was her radical idea about race? MARTIN: The reason that I am intrigued by this is, is that one could forgive her if she just decided to go have a quiet life... MARTIN: Just, you know, just take care of herself, just stick to the home and do her thing. Wells co-founded the NAACP. An Atlanta school board panel recommended Tuesday that Henry W. Grady High School be renamed in honor of Ida B. There was a worry that maybe blacks, because there were so many poor blacks going into the cities, et cetera, that they were raping white women as was being charged, or at least being criminal. That was a pioneering work about black women and activism. There were a couple firsts in this year's … She launched her own newspaper and was a prominent speaker and anti-lynching crusader. Paul Laurence Dunbar, Ida Wells-Barnett came, as you said, William Edward Burghardt Du Bois. The National Urban League opened its Chicago office in 1916, the year the Great Migration officially began. People in public, including W.E.B coming up here who could n't find a place to stay city,,... 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