Ida Bell Wells was born July 16, 1862 in Holly Springs, MS. Her parents, James and Lizzie Wells, were enslaved in Holly Springs when she was born. Her father was the son of a white man and one of his slaves named Peggy. At age 18, James went to Holly Springs to learn carpentry and he worked as a hired out slave. According to Wells, her father knew very little of the cruelties of slavery.
Her mother, on the other hand, was taken from her family and sold to an architect, Mr. Bolling, in Holly Springs, where she became his cook. Ida’s mother and father met when they were both enslaved at the architect’s home (now called Bolling- Gatewood House) in Holly Springs. About six months after Ida was born, she and her parents were freed by the Emancipation Proclamation.
After Ida’s parents were freed, they stayed in Holly Springs. Her father, James, founded a carpentry business (this happened after he quit working for Mr. Bolling. Bolling was pressuring him to vote Democratic and when he refused, he came back to a locked shop. James left the shop, went downtown to buy new tools, and rented a house across the street to open his own shop.) Ida’s mother, Lizzie, was a famous cook in the city. Both of her parents were active in the Republican Party.
Side note: There was a time when the Republican and Democratic parties had opposite platforms, and over the years they switched to what we know today.
According to livescience.com, during the 1860s, Republicans were Northerners in favor of expansion of federal power. It was Lincoln’s party. The Democrats were Southerners, who did not want the federal government to have all the power, they believed it belonged to the individual states. The Republicans passed laws to protect African Americans and fought for social justice after the Civil War.
The party lines began to blur in the early 1900s when a Democrat, William Jennings Bryan, emphasized the government’s role in social justice reform through expansion of the government, a traditionally Republican stance.
So why did this happen? After the Civil War, new western states were acquired and both parties were vying for their attention. The Democrats saw that using the federal government to fund social programs and benefits was beneficial for their platform in trying to win over western states.
The Republicans naturally took the opposing position and called for a hands off approach. They began to appeal to big business. Big business originally needed more government help with infrastructure, currency, and tariffs, but once established, the hands off approach was better. It allowed them more freedoms to do what they wanted.
James Wells became a trustee in Shaw College (now Rust College), a school for newly freed slaves. The school was established in 1866 for adults and children, by the Freedman’s Aid Society, of which James Wells was a member. It was originally called Shaw College after Reverend Shaw, who donated $10,000 to the new school. In 1915, in order to not confuse it with Shaw University, they renamed it Rust College, after Richard Rust, the secretary of the Freedman’s Aid Society.
As time went on and students progressed, the school went from having elementary and secondary classes to having high school and college courses. In 1878, the first two students graduated from the college department. It was at Shaw College that Ida received the first of her formal education.
Tragedy struck when Ida was only 14 (there’s speculation as to if she was 14 or 16. I’ve read both but Ida’s autobiography said 14, so we’re going with that). Both her parents and one sibling contracted Yellow Fever and passed away. Holly Springs’ mayor refused to quarantine the city from Memphis after the fever broke out and people came down to get away from the city, bringing the disease with them.
Ida had been visiting her grandmother out of town and was spared of the disease. Ida was the oldest of eight children and it was now her responsibility to care for her six remaining siblings. She refused to split up the family and send them to various foster homes. With the help of the Masons, the organization her father belonged to, she convinced a nearby school administrator that she was 18 and began teaching in a rural school, making $25 a month.
While Ida was working, her grandmother, Peggy, and other family members would watch the children. When her grandmother passed away, Ida accepted an offer to live in Memphis with their aunt, Fanny. Her sister, Eugenia had medical issues and stayed with her mother’s sister, and her two brothers worked on their farm. In 1880, Wells accepted a teaching position here in Shelby County.
Wells was always striving to educate herself, as well as others. During her summers off from teaching, she studied at Fisk University in Nashville and Lemoyne-Owen College in Memphis.
It was during her time teaching for Shelby Co (1884), that she had her first public interaction with social injustice, it was on a railway train. Ida boarded the train and sat in the ladies car, as per usual given the ticket she had purchased. When the conductor came by to collect tickets, he told her that she couldn’t sit there, she would have to go to the car where the “colored people” sat. That car also happened to be the smoking car. She refused and as he grabbed her arm to drag her out of the seat, so she bit him. Bracing herself against the seats, she was determined to stay. The conductor went to the baggage men to get help to remove her and as they dragged her away, the other white passengers stood on seats to get a better view and applauded the conductor for taking a stand. By the time they got her up and moved, the train was making its first stop and Ida decided to get off the train, rather than ride in a smoking car.
When Ida got home, she decided she was going to pursue justice. She hired a black lawyer to file a lawsuit against the railroad. After months of waiting, she found out that he had been bought off by the railroad. Her only other choice was to hire a white lawyer. She hired Judge Greer to represent her and bring her trial to court. In the courtroom, Judge Pierce, a ex-union soldier, sided with Wells and awarded her $500. The newspaper headlines read “DARKY DAMSEL GETS DAMAGES”. Clearly the newspapers were run by white men. Unfortunately, the railroad later appealed to the state’s supreme court and got the charges reversed and Ida had to pay court costs.
But even though her triumph was short lived, it made an impact. This experience inspired her to start her writing career. From that moment on, she began to write and fight against social injustice.
During this time, Wells had been attending a literary group, consisting mainly of teachers, every Friday afternoon at the Vance Street Christian Church. It was here that she discovered the Evening Star, a journal that offered news items, literary notes, criticisms, poetry, and a personality “gossip” column. The editor happened to be leaving and without one, the Evening Star could not continue. The group elected Ida to fill the position. With Wells at the helm, the attendance to the Friday evening lyceum increased with listeners wanting to hear what Wells had to say.
One of the pastors of the leading Baptist church in town also had a news weekly he published, it was called the Living Way. He invited Ida to write for it. Knowing there was a lack of school training for many of the readers of the newsletter, she wrote about the concerns of her people in simple ways that everyone could understand.
This is the newsletter where Ida tried out her new pen name, Iola.
Shortly after her news writing began, several African American newspapers in the country contacted Wells to write articles for them.
In 1886, Aunt Fanny, who had moved to California the previous year, offered for Ida to come and live with her. She had taken Ida’s two sisters with her when she moved. Even though she didn’t want to leave Memphis, Ida believed she owed it to her aunt, since she had taken her in when she moved to Memphis.
Ida accepted the invitation and began her cross-country trip to California. She joined the National Education Association train trip to Topeka, KS, meeting several school teachers and officials from KS. From there, she joined the GAR (Grand Army of the Republic – later known as The Sons of Union Veterans) in their trek to California. Along the way, she wrote letters for the Living Way describing the cities where she stopped.
When Ida got to California, she sold her return train ticket, but immediately regretted the decision. She really didn’t want to live in California. However, she was offered a teaching position, which she accepted, but not before writing to Robert Church, a prominent black Memphian, asking for a $150 loan to return home. She included a condition though, she must be reelected to teach, otherwise she had no reason to return. In those days, you had to be elected each year to teach. She had also been in contact with a professor in the Kansas City schools and expressed her desire for her friends back east to “not to forget her”, meaning she wanted to be considered for a teaching position in Kansas City.
By September, schools opened in California and Ida began teaching – this was on a Monday. When she arrived, she realized the school was subpar with second rate facilities. But she was determined to make the best of it, even though she was unhappy. Tuesday morning, Ida received a letter from the Kansas City schools saying they elected her to teach and expected her to be there the following Monday. Sadly, she declined the position, having not received any word from Mr. Church. But then on Thursday morning, she received a letter from Mr. Church saying that she had been reelected to teach in Memphis and there was a check for the money she needed to return home.
After quite an ugly scene at home, she left her aunt and one sister in California. Wells reached Kansas City the following Tuesday, the day after school had begun. There had been an issue upon her arrival though… The school board had received her first telegram declining the position and hired a hometown girl, Callie Jordan. When she had written to the school board the second time, she had told them if her position was filled, she would go on to Memphis, but when she arrived, they had made arrangements for her to stay. They replaced Callie Jordan with Wells. Their reasoning was that Wells was a seasoned teacher and Jordan was a recent graduate. Naturally, she was not warmly welcomed by her peers. She taught for one day, dismissed her class, and went straight to the principal’s office to offer her resignation. From Kansas City, she and her sister journeyed back to Memphis and she walked into a Memphis City teacher’s meeting the following Saturday morning.
Despite being all Wells knew, she was not a fan of being a teacher, but nothing else was available that offered a living wage. She was never promoted to teaching above fourth grade and she began to find her work monotonous and distasteful. She used her work with the newspapers as her outlet and she enjoyed it greatly.
“Iola” began writing for several different papers. The editor of the Negro Press Association, Rev. Wm. Simmons, wanted her as a correspondent for his paper and offered her $1 per letter weekly. This was the first time she had been offered money for her writing. She was on staff of the American Baptist for the next three years. In 1889, she was elected secretary to the National Press Association. She met numerous influential men of her race, including Frederick Douglass, whom she became good friends with in later years. Wells stated she owed her fame in the newspaper world to Dr. Simmons, who encouraged her to become the newspaper woman she was.
Also in 1889, Wells was offered a position at the Free Speech and Headlight in Memphis (later called the Free Speech). It was owned by Rev. F. Nightingale and J.L. Fleming. She refused the position unless she could come in as an equal partner. Wells bought in as a one third owner. She became the editor, Fleming was the business manager, and Nightingale was the sales manager. Nightingale was also the pastor of the largest congregation in the state, so about 500 copies of the Free Speech were sold every Sunday.
According to Wells, things ran smoothly for about 2 years, until she wanted to write an article about the conditions of schools for black children. She was protesting the limited number of and inadequate buildings and the poor choice of teachers who had less than quality mental and moral character. She thought that this criticism would come better from a man in Nightingale’s position, so she asked him to sign his name to the article. Also, she was still an employee of the schools and needed to keep her job. He refused to sign the article, but she was determined for it to print, so in her words, she “let it ride”.
Her article stirred up quite a commotion, but another paper supported her, stating the charges against the school system were true. Needless to say, when election time came up, Wells was not reelected for an eighth term. Apparently they did not care to elect a teacher who had criticized the school system. Even though she was not supported by the parents of her student, as many of them couldn’t understand why she did it, she had no regrets. The truth needed to be out there, even if it wasn’t supported like she thought it should be.
Having not been reelected to teach, Wells spent the summer in MS, AR, and TN trying to extend the circulation of the Free Speech. She made herself available at every gathering in order to solicit subscribers and appoint correspondents to send weekly news updates. Ida did very well, and in nine months, she was about to increase her income to almost what she had received while teaching. She had found her calling and made money at it as well, something not many African American newspapers had succeeded at.
During that time, Rev. Nightingale sold his share of the paper to Wells and Fleming. He had issues with his congregation and wanted to air his grievances in the paper, but since his congregation were the paper’s supporters, Wells refused and Nightingale was bought out.
Despite losing their sales manager, the Free Speech, which was printed on pink paper to set it apart from other papers, saw a circulation increase from 1500 to 4000 in less than a year.
In March 1892, everything changed. Wells was on a trip away from home when she heard the story of three African American men who were lynched in Memphis.
Who were these men and why were they murdered?
The three men were Thomas Moss, Calvin McDowell, and Will “Henry” Stewart. In 1889 they opened the Peoples Grocery in an area of town known as “the Curve”. They opened the store across the street from an established grocery store owned by a white man, W.R. Barrett. The Curve was an area mostly populated by African Americans and Moss knew most of the residents, so he wanted to provide a safe and inviting service, something that Barrett’s store did not. This, of course, left Barrett bitter and resentful.
March 2, 1892, two sets of boys, black and white, were playing a game of marbles and began to fight over it. A young black boy, Armour Harris and a young white boy, Cornelius Hurst, began to scuffle and Harris was winning the fight. Hurst’s father stepped in and began beating Harris. McDowell and Stewart, who were working in the store, saw what was happening and ran out to stop this grown man from beating on a child. More people from the neighborhood jumped into the fight and apparently Barrett was struck in the head. He blamed Stewart for the assault.
The next day, Barrett came to the grocery store with a police officer looking for Stewart. McDowell told Barrett he was not there, so Barrett proceeded to hit him with a gun and knock him down. McDowell wrestled the gun away from Barrett and fired it at him but missed. McDowell was arrested but later released the following day.
The owners of People’s Grocery had heard they were going to be ambushed the following Saturday and consulted a lawyer as to their rights. According to the lawyer, since they were outside the city limits, where the police would not protect them, they had the right to protect themselves against attack. As the six armed white men, a sheriff and deputized civilians, began their raid on the store, Moss and McDowell were dealing with the store business and their men were in the back, waiting to defend the store. Shots rang out and a few of the raiding party were injured, but eventually they all went fleeing the store towards safety.
When the Sunday paper came out, it reported the altercation and the injuries of three white men. Several African Americans from the neighborhood were pulled from their homes and arrested under suspicion. While the men were in jail, the black TN Rifles militia sat guarding the jail, to make sure nothing would happen to the men inside. They sat guard for two nights. By the third day, reports that the men injured in the scuffle would recover, the guards assumed the worst had passed and the jailed men would be ok, so they left. Sadly, they were wrong.
Now that the injured men were out of harm’s way, there was no legal way for the three men in jail to be executed for the crimes. So a group of white men decided to, break into the jail under the cover of dark, once thought to be impenetrable, and kidnap Moss, McDowell, and Stewart. The men were loaded on a train that ran behind the jail and were carried a mile north of the city. When they arrived at their destination, each man was horribly beaten and then shot to death.
A reporter for the local paper was tipped off as to what was going to happen and he showed up at the scene of the crime. The next day’s paper was delayed so they could report the details of the lynching. In the article, it was said that before Moss died, he begged his people to go West, there was no justice for them there.
No one was arrested for the murders, even though there was clearly an eyewitness.
Knowing that there would be unrest among the African American population, a Memphis judge ordered all guns be confiscated from the TN Rifles Militia. The judge was Julius Dubose… just to set the tone for what kind of a man this judge was, there was a Tennessee Bar Journal article from this past February entitled “Evil on the Bench: The Rise and Fall of Judge Julius J. Dubose.” So, after the rifles were confiscated, a hundred men were sent to the Peoples Grocery store to shoot anyone causing a scene. When they arrived at the store, without provocation, they began to shoot into the crowds of African Americans who showed up and they then ransacked the store.
Subsequently, after all was said and done, Barrett bought the store for 1/8 its cost.
News of her friend’s death filled Wells with rage. When she arrived back to Memphis, she used her paper to encourage her people to do as Moss had advised…leave Memphis.
Ida B. Wells wrote, “The city of Memphis has demonstrated that neither character nor standing avails the Negro if he dares to protect himself against the white man or becomes his rival. There is nothing we can do about the lynching now, as we are outnumbered and without arms. The white mob could help itself to ammunition without pay, but the order was rigidly enforced against the selling of guns to Negroes. There is therefore only one thing left that we can do; save our money and leave a town which will neither protect our lives and property, nor give us a fair trial in the courts, but take us out and murder us in cold blood when accused by white persons.”
Numerous African Americans did leave Memphis, taking with them the money they spent on goods and services, as well as leaving vacancies in the workforce.
This is the point where Wells began her investigative journaling journey. She began to look into lynchings and interviewed those associated with them. She came across a story of a lynching in Tunica, MS, where a white man had gathered a mob to lynch a black man who had raped his 7 year old daughter. When Wells went to investigate, she found the daughter was 17 years old, and was found in the accused man’s cabin. He was a helper on their farm. He was lynched to “save the daughter’s reputation”.
She discovered other similar stories as well. One was about a white woman giving birth to a dark skinned baby and in trying to save himself, her colored coachmen fled in the night. Another story was about a woman being sent away from her home to a public hospital ward after she birthed a “colored baby” and refused to name her “rapist”. And then another one was of a mother whose son left the place he worked after the daughter of the house made advances towards him. When he finally gave in to her, after several encounters with her, they were discovered, and he was lynched, siting rape as the reason.
Wells was tired of the black man raping the white woman story. It became a crutch of white society to blame black men for forcing themselves upon white women, when the relationship was consensual. Wells was determined to expose these crimes for what they were, racist hate crimes.
The last edition of the Free Speech was published in May 1892. Wells wrote an editorial about eight black men who had been lynched since the previous Free Speech copy was released. In the story, three of the black men were accused of killing some white men and then five were charged with raping white women. The story read, “Nobody in this section believes the old threadbare lie that Negro men assault white women. If Southern white men are not careful they will overreach themselves and a conclusion will be reached which will be very damaging to the moral reputation of their women.”
The following Monday morning, the Commercial Appeal reproduced the editorial and then called the white men of Memphis to do something to avenge the insult to the honor of their women. It said, “The black wretch who had written that foul lie should be tied to a stake at the corner of Main and Madison streets, a pair of tailor’s shears used on him, and he should be burned at a stake”.
Apparently they believed the author of this editorial to be a man. They later found out otherwise.
Wells was away on business when the angry mob of white men came to destroy her Free Press office. They burned it down and put up notice that if she returned, she would be killed. Wells never returned to Memphis.
In June of 1892, Wells wrote an article for the New York Age. It was a front page article giving the names, dates, and places of lynchings of African American men for alleged rape. The article reemphasized her previous story, in the Free Speech, citing stories of relationships between African American men and white women.
But the relationships between white men and black women had been notoriously happening in the South for ages. Some white fathers sold their mixed children into slavery, while others sent them North and gave them their freedom and homes, making them independent. What the white men deemed an acceptable practice for themselves, was unthinkable for white women. If a white woman engaged in relations with a black man, the white man always cried rape.
This was the first inside look into lynching. Ten thousand copies of that New York Age were printed, one thousand were sold in Memphis.
In October 1892, she published more of her research findings in a pamphlet called “Southern Horrors: Lynch Laws in All Its Phases”. She believed that the real reason Southerners cried rape as an excuse for lynching, taking in to consideration the three men murdered in Memphis had nothing to do with rape, was to hide the fact they were scared of black economic progress. They wanted to keep African Americans from acquiring wealth and property in an effort to keep them from succeeding.
About 2 months after her story in the New York Age was published, two African American women from New York asked Wells to speak to a group of their friends and associates. Wells told her stories and was met with great support from her listeners. The women who arranged her lecture gave her $500 and a gold broach in the shape of a pen, which she wore to every occasion from then on out. Her testimonial started the beginning of a club movement in New York. Theirs was called the Women’s Loyal Union.
Shortly after, Wells had traveled to Boston and addressed her first white audience. The Boston Transcript and the Advertiser were the first white Northern papers to report on Wells’ public speeches.
In February 1893, Wells read an article from Texas about a black man who had allegedly murdered a 5 year old girl and his punishment was to be burned alive. Children had been let out of school to watch it and the railroads brought people in to watch it. This lynching was a public spectacle. The reports told of every agonizing detail of the murder and how people fought each other for “prizes” from the ashes. There was no trial. The man died proclaiming his innocence.
News of this story traveled around the world. That’s when two Scottish women (Mrs. Mayo and Miss Impey) were discussing the practice of burning humans alive and what could be done to stop it. Miss Impey, while in America, had heard of Wells and the speeches she had made at the women’s meetings. They proceeded to write her a letter, inviting her to speak in England, all expenses paid.
Wells was off to Europe by April 1893.
Ida and her two new friends traveled throughout the United Kingdom allowing Wells to tell her stories of what was happening in America, especially in the South. Ida said, “I began by telling of conditions in the South since the Civil War, Jim Crow laws, ballot-box intimidation, and laws against intermarriage. I told how in spite of such laws to prevent the mixing of the races, the white race had so bleached the Afro-Americans that a race of mulattoes, quadroons, and octoroons had grown up within the race, and that such laws put a premium on immorality. I also told of the cruel physical atrocities vented upon my race, and of the failure of the whites to allow a fair trial to any accused.” (mulatto, quadroon, and octoroon are very dated terms specifying the percentage of black ancestry a person has, but these terms are now considered to be offensive)
By and large, Wells’ message was well received. And because of that, she believed that if the British opinion was properly aroused it would have a good effect on the United States and hopefully encourage those with authority to put a stop to it. She also believed, “America cannot and will not ignore the voice of a nation that is her superior in civilization, which makes this demand in the name of justice and humanity”.
When Wells left England, she met a group of 15 young white men on their way to the World’s Fair. They traveled to Chicago together and had a wonderful trip. The young men took pleasure in shocking some of the other guests aboard the ship by being courteous and respectful to her. It was the first time Wells had met any members of the white race that treated her no differently than someone of their own race.
Wells returned once again to England the following year, 1894, to publicly tell the stories of injustices in America. When questioned as to why she did not speak of such things in America? She stated that she, or anyone of her race, could not get a hearing. Since the English press will speak out against injustice, she again was hoping that the American audience would do the same. And when they do, there would be laws that will be enacted to stop America’s disgrace.
When Wells returned to Chicago, she joined with the Ida B. Wells Club and began to do more public speaking. From those speeches, an influential anti-lynching league was formed from some of the city’s leading citizens. Chicago had many black political organizations and interracial activism for that period of time.
During the next year, she traveled the country, to many of the largest cities, speaking out against the injustices her people faced, doing all one person could do to encourage the public to help put a stop to lynching. She returned home to Chicago in June 1895 and settled into her new lifestyle.
It was on June 27, 1895, that Wells married Ferdinand L. Barnett, an attorney. Wells-Barnett took a bit of a respite from traveling and speaking to focus on her true love, journalism. She purchased the Conservator from Mr. Barnett and his associates, and became the editor. She was also the president of the Ida B. Wells Woman’s Club, speaker in many white women’s clubs around Chicago, and pregnant with her first child, a little boy, born March 25, 1896.
But it wasn’t long before Wells-Barnett was back in the political arena, this time speaking of the suffragette movement. She took her son with her to all her political engagements around the country. Wells spoke to women on behalf of women’s committees. The meetings taught women about the political matters in the country. Though most of the women joining were white, she hoped her input would make a difference in their thoughts.
Just as her son was to be weaned, she became pregnant with her second son. After his birth, she decided to stop traveling, as well as give up her newspaper, in order to care for her children. But before retiring from the Ida B. Wells Club, she helped them open a kindergarten in a nearby church. At this time, kindergarten was not terribly common. And though she found push back from some of her community, citing opening a kindergarten in a black neighborhood would separate the races, at this time, she felt it more important that the children get an education, rather than get nothing by being denied access to the white kindergarten.
It wasn’t long after her second son was born, Wells- Barnett set out with a baby on her hip to speak out against the lynching that continued to happen in America. This time a postmaster had been lynched and the federal government could finally step in and do something about it. Ida went to Washington on funds raised by her community in Chicago. When she arrived, she was assured that they were looking for the guilty parties so they could be prosecuted.
In the early 1900s, The Chicago Tribune was pushing the agenda to separate mixed race schools. Wells-Barnett fought against separating schools for black and white children, citing that black schools were generally inferior to white schools and doing so would also cost double in taxes. Obtaining help from Jane Addams of Hull House, Ida was able to speak to the influential white people of Chicago and ask them to do what the black community could not, secure an equal chance for education for their children. And it worked. She is unsure what caused the articles to stop appearing in the Tribune, but they did and no further question of separating schools by race was mentioned again.
Wells-Barnett continued to fight for the advancement of the black community. In 1908, she helped found the Negro Fellowship League Reading Room and Social Center for men and boys. It not only offered a place for black community to read, write letters, and enjoy social aspects of life, it eventually lodged those that needed a place to stay and helped those who were out of work find employment.
Her reading room lasted for about 10 years before Wells-Barnett could no longer run it. She had various people try to keep it open, but it closed Thanksgiving 1920. One week later, she was taken to the hospital for gallstones. It took her a year to recover from the surgery, during which time she reflected on the things she had accomplished in her life.
Wells-Barnett passed away March 25, 1931 from kidney failure.
Not only was she involved in the aforementioned societies, she also had her hand in helping start the NAACP, she worked for the National Equal Rights League, and she even ran for an Illinois State Senate seat the year before she passed away.
Professor Giddings from Smith College said, “She doesn’t win. But she’s again creating paths for not only blacks but for black women particularly and for women in general.”
Ida B. Wells- Barnett was a force to be reckoned with, striving to fight injustice, no matter the cost to herself. “I felt that one had better die fighting against injustice than to die like a dog or a rat in a trap.”
There is so much more that could be said about Ida B. Wells, we could literally talk about the things she did for hours on end. She was one of the greatest pioneers for justice for the black community.
To learn more about Wells, please visit our show notes page, it has the links for all the websites, newspapers, and books used for this episode.
When Ida B. Wells Took on Lynching, Threats Forced Her to Leave Memphis
Ida B. Wells Documentary
Ida B. Wells- Facts, Accomplishments, & Quotes
Ida B. Wells Wiki
Rust College: History
History: Ida B. Wells
Ida B. Wells- The Memphis Free Speech
Ida B. Wells Determined Quest for Equality
The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow
Memphis Black History: Ida B. Wells
The Peoples Grocery Store
Why Did the Democrat and Republican Parties Switch Platforms
Peoples Grocery Story Wiki
Ida B. Wells and her Passion for Justice
The Tennessean 15 Dec 1991. She Stood for Free Speech Under Threats of Lynching Dwight Lewis
The Daily News Journal 18 Mar 2020 We Can All Learn from Fiery, Brave Ida B. Wells Lynn Norment
The Way to Right Wrongs: Celebrating the Legacy of Ida B. Wells
Barnett, Ida B., and Miriam Willis. The Memphis diary of Ida B. Wells. Boston: Beacon Press, 1995. Print.
Barnett, Ida B., et al. Crusade for justice : the autobiography of Ida B. Wells. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1970, 2020. Print.
Decosta- Willis, Miriam. Notable Black Memphians. New York: Cambria Press, 2008. Print
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