Ida B. Wells

Birthplace: Holly Springs, MS
Graduate of Rust College

In 1884, Ida Bell Wells boarded the first-class compartment on a train to her new teaching job. The railroad was operating under "Separate but Equal" laws. When Wells was asked to move to the smoking car, a scuffle ensued. After she got off the train she filed a discrimination lawsuit. She was awarded $500, but the verdict was reversed by Tennessee's Supreme Court. While teaching in Memphis, Wells also wrote for black newspapers using the pen name "Iola." She eventually became a full-time journalist and was editor and part-owner of a small, militant newspaper, the Free Speech and Headlight. It was at this time that she began her campaign against lynching. In 1893, she formed the Ida B. Wells Women's Club and organized the first suffrage group among black women. She established the first kindergarten in a black neighborhood. Ida Bell Wells spent her life fighting for the rights of blacks and women.

Related Resources

Web Resources
Just the Arti-Facts: Ida B. Wells
Photos of and biographical information about Ida B. Wells.

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