Ida B. Wells was attending college when the Yellow Fever hit Holly Springs, Mississippi. Her parents and a sibling died leaving her the one to care for the younger children. She left Rust College to teach and placed the children with her aunt. Her life story of achievements and responsibilities is recorded in her journal.
While teaching she began to write under the pen name, IOLA. Later she owned a newspaper in Memphis, TN. This brought her face to face with legal (Jim Crow) discrimination that reversed many of the opportunities afforded Blacks after the Civil War.
Her own experiences included being thrown off a train. She had bought a first class ticket and refused to move from the segregated Ladies car reserved for white women. Ida sued the company and won a judgement. However, this was reversed by the Tennessee Court of Appeals.
She became an advocate for the rights of Blacks after several business men she knew were lynched. She was forced to leave the south but travelled widely for the causes she believed in. She was an early supporter of the Crisis magazine and the NAACP.
Her marriage to F. Barnett, a lawyer, made them a prominent couple and parents of 5 children. There are many named sites recognizing her contributions, including the Ida B. Wells museum in Holly Springs.
The list of her associates is long and includes my grandparents, William H. and Annie Talbot Strickland. They were students at Rust College at the same time Ida attended. Her attitudes regarding Annie changed when Ida returned to Mississippi to attend my grandparents’ wedding. I learned of this by reading her biography (by) Paula Giddings (Ida:A Sword Among Lions: Ida B. Wells and the Campaign Against Lynching.)
It pays to check your drafts! I did exactly one year to the day. I do have an excuse. I have been busy. Soon to explain my project and its progress.
- Ida B. Wells Barnett (guardianlv.com)