Happy Women’s History Month everyone! To celebrate March being Women’s History Month and 2020 being the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, we’re debuting a new series this month called Suffragette Sunday. There are FIVE Sundays in March, and on each one we’ll be featuring a historical woman who was instrumental in the fight to get women the right to vote in the United States. Since there are only five Sundays, we won’t be able to feature everyone, but we hope that these short pieces of these amazing women will inspire you to read more about the suffrage movement and discover something new. 

This week, we’re featuring Ida B Wells-Barnett, a well-known journalist, activist, and suffragette. 

Ida B Wells was born in 1862, right in the midst of the Civil War. In fact, she was born into slavery in Mississippi. As an African-American woman, she faced an uphill battle just to live her own life but also to make a difference, and she succeeded nonetheless. After the war was over, and she and her parents were released from the bonds of slavery, she enrolled in college at Rust College, and ended up working as a teacher in Tennessee. 

While focusing on her voice as a reporter, she also knew the importance of education, and rights, for all, and was not going to take any discrimination sitting down. She particularly stood up against lynching, writing columns about the horrors. She angered so many people by standing up for what she knew was right that they burned her press and tried to drive her out of town. 

Wells married, becoming Wells-Barnett, and became a mother of four, but she didn’t let that slow down her activism in the realm of civil rights and suffrage. As a black female leader, she was often left out of many of the discussions white women were having about getting the vote, but she recognized how integral it was to rights for all as a cause. She stayed involved in the women’s suffrage movement even as she needed to remind women that they should come out and condemn lynching–an issue she continued to speak around the world about. She founded the National Association of Colored Women’s Club and was active in the founding of the NAACP. 

Wells also helped found the Alpha Women’s Club in Chicago, a group dedicated to getting candidates elected who would help the black community. She also organized a group to march in the 1913 Women’s Suffrage Parade on Washington D.C, even joining in on the parade when some people didn’t want black women to march at all. Not only did she fight for suffrage, she fought for civil rights as a whole, making her an astounding historical figure that is too often overlooked. 

Ida B Wells-Barnett passed away in March 1931. 

To learn more about Ida B Wells-Barnett, consider check out one of the following books: 

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Aryssa D
FFL Cabinet Member