top of page

Women's History Month: Ida B. Wells

Black women have always played an important role in the history of the United States, often in the face of adversity. While their stories are often left out of the history books, there are a number of black women authors who have made significant contributions to American literature. will highlight ten black women authors who have made a lasting impact on American culture. Today we honor Ida B. Wells-Barnett, and highlight "A Red Record"

Ida Bell Wells-Barnett July 16, 1862 – March 25, 1931, was an American investigative journalist, educator, and early leader in the civil rights movement. She was one of the founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Over the course of a lifetime dedicated to combating prejudice and violence, and the fight for African-American equality, especially that of women, Wells arguably became the most famous Black woman in America. ~wikipedia

From the exhibit at the US library of congress...

A Red Record: Tabulated Statistics and Alleged Causes of Lynchings in the United States, 1892-1893-1894, by Ida B. Wells, ca. 1895

Ida B. Wells-Barnett, born enslaved in 1862, became a publisher of the Memphis Free Speech newspaper, which reported on discrimination. When mobs lynched three of her friends and destroyed her press, she began a national antilynching campaign. In A Red Record, the first statistical analysis of lynchings nationwide, she urged readers to petition Congress for an investigation of mob violence. Manuscript Division, Library of Congress

“The way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth upon them.”

(CNN)The Senate passed the Emmett Till Antilynching Act of 2022 on Monday night by unanimous consent. The bill, which would make lynching a federal hate crime, now heads to President Joe Biden's desk for his signature.

The legislation was approved by the House of Representatives last week by a vote of 422-3. Passage of the bill is a long-sought goal of advocates, who have been working for years to secure its approval in Congress.

"After more than 200 failed attempts to outlaw lynching, Congress is finally succeeding in taking the long overdue action by passing the Emmett Till Antilynching Act. Hallelujah. It's long overdue," said Majority Leader Chuck Schumer in remarks on the Senate floor after the bill's passage.

Read full article here