MARTIN: And also traveled on her speaking engagements with a nurse and often a baby in tow. Wells was born into slavery in Mississippi 156 years ago. In March of 1913, more than 5,000 women marched in Washington to fight for the right to vote. Sophia King pose as the street signs for Ida B. Not only anti-lynching editorials, but also editorials which have resulted in thousands of people leaving Memphis. But rather than lobby those organizations to become more inclusive, Wells believed Chicago's black community could collectively help itself. After her relocation to Chicago in 1894, she worked tirelessly to advance the cause of black equality and black power. Ida B. She insisted on getting certified as a teacher the age of 16 so that she could keep all the siblings together. She said, but why are you lynching black women? We travel to Memphis and learn about the moment that changed the rest of her life--and put her in mortal danger. Patrick Smith/WBEZ The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record. Wells? He stands with some of his coworkers in Humboldt Park. She trained the women in canvassing and organized them to go door-to-door in predominantly black neighborhoods, educating other women on the political process and registering them to vote. hide caption. But instead of staying home, she would drag, sometimes I think actually drag these children, even to the sites of lynchings and to other activist organizations and meetings that she was going to. She started a number of clubs and organizations including the Ida B. It was estimated that maybe a thousand people witnessed this. The board also awarded a special citation to Ida B. She was 16 years old. MARTIN: One of the curious things you point out is that she doesn't appear in some of the early accounts of the civil rights movement, despite her incredible prominence and the work that she did documenting these atrocities and her work as an organizer. NPR coverage of Ida, A Sword Among Lions: Ida B. That must put a terrible burden on her. Ms. GIDDINGS: Because her story is so central to - not only race in this country, but also to the culture, the entire culture to the country and its relationship to race. Forty years before Rosa Parks, she sued the railroads over segregated accommodations, and she was a wife and mother. Born into slavery during the Civil War, she later risked her life investigating and exposing violence against black people in the South, and became a co-owner of The Memphis Free Speech so that she had the editorial power to do so. MARTIN: Why? So, in 1910, she created the Negro Fellowship League. And that she also begins to see that's the failure of the society to come to terms with its own moral aspirations and projecting this on blacks as evil. She believed in being with her children. Wells and Booker T. Washington spoke there. Wells and Booker … So this can't be true, there's something else going on. So she was looking for an insurgency of the laboring classes, and believed in a grass roots kind of leadership where others... Ms. GIDDINGS: Not violent, except she did believe in self defense. (Courtesy The Broad Ax). LAMAR: He was. Of course, I had heard about her before, but I hadn't really engaged in her and it wasn't long - I write this in the introduction in the book before she demanded a book of her own. Sometimes there's support, but the story of white feminists and black feminists is a difficult one because white women were afraid that if black women were enfranchised, southern legislators would never pass a federal amendment. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Is that right? So she asked Curious City: What was Ida B. Wells, a journalist most famous for the anti-lynching campaign she led from 1893 through 1927. Tony Raggs, far left, is the manager of the Safe Streets program for ALSO, an anti-violence organization. Nam. We can reform the country. She is very self conscious. Wells became Ida B. Wells-Barnett. In an interview with NPR's All Things Consideredon Monday, ... Frederick Douglass worshiped there; Ida B. hide caption. She wanted to change that. Ms. GIDDINGS: Thank you so much, Michel. Ms. GIDDINGS: This is part of it, but this is not the most important part of it. And I'm tempted to ask is it because she was hard to get along with? But some said not so fast and stopped the process to allow the students to weigh in. The choice of Ida B. JB Pritzker Says Michael Madigan Should Testify In Bribery Inquiry, Illinois Voters Concerned With Mailing Ballots Are Opting For Early Voting, Chicago Has A New Plan To Reduce Gun Violence, But COVID-19 Has Created Challenges, 'An X-Ray Of Our Country': How America's Caste System Has Shaped History, Chicago Eases Some COVID-19 Restrictions On Bars And Restaurants. It is time for a special Wisdom Watch. Woods was accused of this, was lynched, was stripped naked and her body was shot in two. Born into … Early in the movement for women's suffrage, Wells recognized that black women were not taking advantage of their limited voting rights and that the suffrage movement itself was not inclusive. Just in time for women's history month, the book is available at most major bookstores, and Paula Giddings joined us here in our Washington studio. Ida understood that black people were being criminalized. She traveled, she taught, she spoke. Well's great-granddaughter Michelle Duster, and Ald. MARTIN: In researching this biography, is there something that surprised you that just knocked your socks off? I talk about this in the book - of Wells when she hears this particularly, it really begins to - and she also understands that lynching is not about men and rape. Paul Laurence Dunbar, Ida Wells-Barnett came, as you said, William Edward Burghardt Du Bois.