Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: June 02, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412971928 | Print ISBN: 9781412950855 | Online ISBN: 9781412971928| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Wells-Barnett, Ida B. (1862–1931)
Alexander W. Pisciotta
Ida B. Wells-Barnett—teacher, journalist, feminist, human and civil rights activist—was one of America's most courageous champions for social justice. In the 1890s, Wells-Barnett launched a campaign that called the attention of the nation and the world to the horrors of lynching. Wells-Barnett, a former slave, exposed the crassest dimensions of American racism, as well as the myth of freedom, equality, and justice for all. Ida Wells was born on July 16, 1862, in Holly Springs, Mississippi. Her mother, Lizzie Bell, was a slave. Her father, James Wells, was the son of a slave and her White master. Fortunately, James's father-master gave his son favored treatment, teaching him to read and write. James Wells understood the importance of knowledge and encouraged Ida and her six siblings to value education. Lizzie and James Wells also instilled their children with strict Christian values: piety, honesty, and integrity. The Wells children were taught to ...