Inspiring People – Ida B. Wells-Barnett

Good Morning! Here’s the Monday Morning Blog!

Did you have a good week? Did you touch base with that teen or young adult in your life? We had a pretty quiet week of activity at our house with the sub zero temperatures here in Minnesota. But still had family dinners as an opportunity to catch up.

Today is President’s Day

According to officeholidays.com, the first President’s Day was celebrated on February 22, 1796 commemorate our first president, George Washington’s, birthday. In 1971, it was shifted to fall on the third Monday in February to simplify the yearly calendar and to give federal employees some standard three day holidays. What are you doing to celebrate our nation’s presidents today?

Black History Month

Black History Month

February is Black History Month. The posts this month are focusing on leaders, issues and pioneers that have had an effect on the history of the different races in our country. I wanted to feature someone not as well known, but made her mark on civil rights history. This week’s inspirational person is Ida B. Wells-Barnett.

Who was Ida B. Wells?

According to the book, Who was Ida B. Wells? by Sarah Fabiny, Ida B. Wells was born in Holly Springs, Mississippi in 1862.  She was born into slavery, but was freed by the Emancipation Proclimation in 1865.

As a young girl, her father asked her to read the newspaper to him and his friends. Through reading, she became interested in writing. When she lost both of her parents to yellow fever in 1878, she was put in charge of raising her siblings while she became and made a living as a teacher.

After two years of teaching at the rural school, Ida received an opportunity from her Aunt Fannie to move to Memphis and teach in a city school. While teaching school during the week, Ida started editing and writing a newsletter called the Evening Star on the weekends. This opportunity led her to start writing for a weekly newspaper. Through these different opportunities, she was able to start her career as a journalist.

She wrote for and edited many newspapers and published pamphlets about issues that affected blacks during the time after Abraham Lincoln abolished slavery in the 13th Amendment in 1865.

Her Anti-Lynching Pamphlets

Ida B. Wells was a Black American activist at a time when many Black Americans weren’t speaking up for their rights. She wasn’t just speaking up with her voice, but through her writing and publishing pamphlets about how blacks were being treated, The main focus of her pamphlets was about about lynching.

Lynching – when someone is killed without a trial. Many times, black people would be killed because they are black. The punishment does not fit the crime.

This was in response to something that happened to a friend of hers, Thomas Moss, and two others. They were the victims of a lynching while serving time in jail for defending their grocery business, the Peoples Grocery. Here’s what happened…

A competing grocery across the street, owned by white men, were upset about how well the Peoples Grocery was doing. So they sent a mob of people to ruin the store. Ida’s friends had to protect their business because they knew the cops wouldn’t help them. When they shot their guns off, three white men were injured. Moss and his friends were taken to jail, but they never made it to court, they were taken from jail and lynched.

I wrote a book review a couple of weeks ago about Death of Innocence which was about Emmett Till, a teen who was lynched for supposedly whistling at a white woman in Mississippi. This would be a great read to learn more about the human effects of lynching and racism. Here’s the link to that book review. Death of Innocence

The articles that she wrote about the lynching made many people in Memphis mad and Wells received threats. But that didn’t stop her from continuing to write about the injustices being served as is shown in her quote below.

What impact did she make on American History?

  • She was a journalist, activist and researcher in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
  • She was one of the founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
  • She dedicated her life to fighting for equality of blacks, especially women

Inspiring woman in our country’s history

Ida B. Wells-Barnett wasn’t afraid to speak her mind about the social injustices taking place in our country towards Black Americans. Her skills in writing and connections as a journalist helped to voice her opinion in a time when newspapers were the main way that information was transferred to our country. She made her mark and was a key participant in the early part of the civil rights movement.

As a side note, Wells-Barnett was awarded a posthumous Pultizer Prize in 2020 recoginizing her as a journalist and her reports and publications about lynching.

If you would like to learn a little bit more about Ida B. Wells, here’s a link to the book I read to learn more about her. Who was Ida B. Wells? The author, Sarah Fabiny wrote several Who Was books about other interesting people in history. And there are many other books in this series written by other authors. Take a look and find another interesting person to read about.

The Hard Way

Cover design of my first book

Having friends that support us and have our backs is important throughout our lives. It is very important for teens to pick friends who will support and help them through those tough teen years. Looking for a good teen or young adult read about it? Here’s a link to The Hard Way. Be sure to check it out.

Have a great week!

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