IDA B. WELLS-BARNETF: Woman of Courage by Elizabeth Van Steenwyk

IDA B. WELLS-BARNETF: Woman of Courage

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Born in 1862 in Mississippi, Ida Wells--oldest child of a slave couple--began teaching at 16 and went on to become a journalist, lecturer, and organizer for three great causes that occupied her lifelong--the abolition of lynching, universal suffrage, and the advancement of African-American women. She hyphenated her name when she married Chicago attorney Ferdinand L. Barnett, eschewed housework, and took her infant children along on lecture tours. She ran unsuccessfully for the state senate of Illinois at age 67, and died in 1931. Packed into this brief biography are the major events of an incredibly active, often highly dramatic life. Wells-Barnett made headlines in Memphis in 1884 by refusing to vacate a first-class train seat, and her activism made her so unpopular that she was threatened with lynching in 1892 and with arrest for treason in 1917. A well-crafted biography, put (succinctly) in political and historical context, of a woman who deserves to be better known and more widely quoted--more of her acerbic pronouncements, in fact, might have been included. Source notes, glossary, extensive bibliography; b&w photos and index not seen.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1992
Page count: 128pp
Publisher: Watts