Ida B. Wells
Ida B. Wells
Bee Infinite Publishing considers Ida B. Wells the Mother of the Civil Rights Movement. Beginning in the 1890s, she became an advocate, teacher, suffragist, and investigative journalist who used her printing press to fight racial injustice.
Ida B. Wells was by far the loudest and most fierce voice fighting for anti-lynching during her time.
Today, her legacy is an inspiration to the Bee Infinite Team. As a Black women-owned publishing house, we are committed to amplifying the voices of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color creatives.
Ida Bee Wells
To celebrate Ida B. Wells’ genius and her incredible life-mission, we have created an exclusive Ida Bee Wells t-shirt* illustrated by our co-founder, Kai Adia.
You’ll see a drawing of Ida B. Wells herself with our infinite bee helping to spell her name.
All purchases of this shirt contribute to our efforts to fund community-based independent book projects, merchandise, and future events.
*A percent of the sales will be donated to the Ida B. Wells Society for Investigative Reporting.
Ida B. Wells
Ida B. Wells (1862-1931) was born an enslaved person on July 16th, 1862, in Holly Springs, Mississippi. Ida B. Wells was fearless and uncompromising when it came to using her voice and the written word. Two specific incidences of injustice led Wells to pick up a pen and write. The first incident occurred in1884 when Ida B.Wells bit the hand of a white train conductor who sought to forcibly remove her after she refused to go to the Black section of a train although she had purchased a first-class ticket. The second life-changing event occurred after the lynching of a close friend and his two business associates in Memphis. After the tragic death of her friends, Ida spent two months alone researching and investigating lynchings across the South.
By the time Wells turned 25, she was the co-owner and editor of a local Black newspaper, Free Speech and Headlight. She used newspapers and her editorials as a platform to fight racial inequality in the Jim Crow South and provide resources for her community.
See our book recommendations below to learn more in-depth about her life!
A timeline of Ida's life & career
1880 - 1900 - Ida B. Wells writes for several newspapers, writing especially about lynching and racial discrimination in the South.
1893 - 1894 - Travels to Europe, speaking about lynching in the U.S.
1892 - Publishes Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in all its Phases, documents the alarmingly high rates of lynching in the United States (which was at a peak from 1880 to 1930).
1895 - Publishes, A Red Record, a detailed account of lynching in the American South.
1895 - Marries Ferdinand Lee Barnett, publisher and editor.
1909 - Assists in founding the NAACP.
Ida B. Wells continues to inspire many writers and journalists, especially women like Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Nikole Hannah Jones, and Wells’s own great-granddaughter, Michelle Duster.
“I consider her my spiritual grandmother,” says Nikole Hannah-Jones, “She was a trailblazer in every way."
In 2016, Jones co-founded the Ida B. Wells Society for Investigative Reporting, a training and mentorship organization dedicated to increasing the number of skilled, investigative reporters of color.
Preface by Frederick Douglass for Ida B. Wells's The Red Record
Books To Read
Crusade for Justice: The Autobiography of Ida B. Wells, Second Edition (Negro American Biographies and Autobiographies)
Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in all it Phases by Ida B. Wells (1892), documents the alarmingly high rates of lynching in the United States (which was at a peak from 1880 to 1930).
A Red Record by Ida B. Wells (1895), a detailed account of lynching in the American South.
Ida: A Sword Among Lions - Ida B. Wells and the campaign against lynching. by Paula Giddings (2008)
Ida B. the Queen: The Extraordinary Life and Legacy of Ida B. Wells by Michelle Duster (2021)
The Echoing Ida Collection by editors Cynthia R. Greenlee, Kemi Alabi, Janna A. Zinzi. Forword by Michelle Duster (2021)
Ida In Her Own Words by Michelle Duster
Ida From Abroad by Michelle Duster
To Tell the Truth Freely: The Life of Ida B. Wells by Mia Bay (2010)
The Bee Infinite Team highly recommends shopping these books at local and BIPOC Bookstores via IndieBound.org and Bookshop.org.