Posted: February 5, 2011 by Jay Rasean in Kasual
Ida Bell Wells-Barnett
(July 16, 1862 – March 25, 1931)

Ida B. Wells was an educated African-American woman; whom alongside her husband, was a primary enforcer of civil rights for the African-American people. Ida was a school teacher who then became a journalist, and a newspaper editor. Ida’s sole focus was the harsh, unjust lynching practices observed mainly in the southern states, in reference to African-Americans. Most civil rights activists usually become activist after witnessing shocking events, or from being fed up by the outrageous acts which took place during their particular time period. In Ida’s case; she was highly educated, and well versed in free speech, but in 1892 when her three friends were lynched by an angry mob, her crusade against these practices began.
In 1892, the same year of that tragic event that sparked her career in civil rights, she published a pamphlet entitled Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All Its Phases, and  also A Red Record. These works documented lynching in detail, and also explained the reasons behind the massive amounts of lynching. Ida cites lynching as the means to limit the progression of  African Americans-and not for reasons of sleeping with white women, petty theft, etc.

Not only was Ida a prominent leader in the crusade against civil rights, she was a key player in the progression of women, and their rights. She was a woman who was born into slavery, but still strived for an education. At a time where African-Americans were simply content with their new found freedom; she as well-as her peers, had a hunger for more. African-Americans were free in the literal sense, in every other sense of the word they were not free-and were still be persecuted. Ida saw lynching as brutal act committed through hatred, and the ulterior motive of limiting our free speech. Free speech is not to be prohibited, and we are not to be murdered on occasion.

Ida B.Wells was extraordinary African-American who was an excellent journalist. Through journalism, she explored the unjust culture around her, and further examined our new found freedom. Through education was she able to vocalize the horrors of society and assist her fellow African-Americans in being fully free. Ida was a crusader for justice and beacon for free speech, she is also a major reason why black history should be a year ’round event.


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