Inspirational Stories of Women
Who Made a Difference!
February 28, 2006
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Welcome to History's
Today's biography is about Ida
Wells-Barnett, an amazing woman whose parents were slaves.
While she suffered at the hands of discrimination, she rose to the
defense of others and became a force to be reckoned with in the
field of journalism.
Remember to check out the Black History Month links at the end of
Today's Featured Book is written by author and speaker Lois
Evans...be sure to check it out!
have trouble reading this issue, you can view it
"One had better die fighting against injustice
than to die like a dog or a rat in a trap."
Ida Wells-Barnett was an African-American educator, journalist,
and a fearless activist
who led an anti-lynching crusade in the 1890s. Born in 1862, Ida
Wells was the daughter of slaves, growing up in Holly Springs,
Mississippi. Her parents were freed from slavery shortly after her
birth and the family was supported by the wages her parents
brought in. Her mother was a "famous" cook in the area and her
father was a skilled carpenter.
When Ida was only fourteen-years-old, tragedy struck. An epidemic
of Yellow Fever swept through Holly Springs taking the life of her
parents and youngest sibling. Rising to the occasion, Ida kept the
rest of the family together by securing a teaching position. In
order to further her education, she attended near-by Rust College,
eventually moved to Memphis, Tennessee to live with her aunt and
help raise her younger sisters.
Ida's fight for racial and gender justice began in 1884 while she
was traveling to a school in Memphis. While on the train, Ida was
asked by the conductor of the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad Company
to give up her seat on the train to a white man. She was ordered
to take a seat in the smoking or "Jim Crow" car, which was already
full of passengers. She refused and when he grabbed her wrist to
move her, she bit him. The conductor then went forward and got two
other men to help him, and together they dragged her out of the
train, to the applause of the all-white passengers in the parlor
car in which she was seated.
When she returned to Memphis, she immediately secured an attorney
and sued the railroad. She won her case, initially, but when the
railroad company appealed to the Supreme Court of Tennessee, it
reversed the decision of the lower court. This was the first of
Ida's many struggles to overturn injustices in America against
women and minorities.
Soon after the incident with the Memphis railroad, Ida took up
the pen. Her teaching
career ended after she penned a series of articles that denounced
the inadequate education
provided to Black children. A short time later Ida became part
owner of the Memphis Star newspaper where she used her writing to
launch searing attacks against the practice of lynching.
In 1892, three of Ida's good friends were lynched. The three
men, Thomas Moss, Calvin McDowell, and Henry Stewart were owners
of People's Grocery Company and their small grocery business had
competed with white businesses. A group of angry white men
attacked the People's Grocery, hoping to "eliminate" this
competition, but the three owners fought back, shooting one of the
attackers. The owners of the People's Grocery were arrested, but a
lynch mob broke into the jail and dragged the three men away from
the town and murdered them. This incensed Ida and she wrote a
scathing article calling for justice. As a result of her
investigative journalism and exposing injustice, her newspaper
office was destroyed and Ida moved to Chicago.
Her move to Chicago did not silence Ida. Here she continued her
blistering attacks on Southern injustices, being especially active
in exposing unjust lynching of Black men, which were common in the
South. Ida helped to found numerous African American women and
reform groups as well and was active in the cause of women's
suffrage. She also worked along side Jane Addams to successfully
block the establishment of segregated schools in Chicago.
In 1895 Ida married F.L. Barnett, the editor of the Chicago
Conservator. Though her intent was to retire from public life to
the privacy of her home, she did not remain retired for long. Ida
continued writing and organizing minority groups. In fact, she
became one of two African American women to sign "the call" to
form the NAACP in 1909 and single-handedly founded the first Black
woman suffrage organization, the Alpha Suffrage Club of Chicago.
Ida Wells-Barnett the fearless and well-respected fighter for
the rights of all mankind died in Chicago, Illinois in 1931 at the
age of sixty-nine.
of a Woman's Life
By Lois Evans
A woman's identity can become distorted by the many pressures she
faces and the needs she uniquely fills. The frantic pace of life
leaves many asking, "Will it always be like this?" Lois Evans
answers reassuringly, "No." In Seasons of a Woman's Life, Mrs.
Evans walks women through the many different seasons of life,
encouraging them to hold fast to the promises of God. Through
examples of her own life and the life of others, she challenges
each woman to discover God's purpose for her life. In these
pages you will find helpful principles and encouraging promises
from God's Word.
I admire the work that Lois Evans does, in both writing and
speaking and this book is a good example of the way she speaks to
the heart of women today. Get a copy today!
Table of Contents:
PART ONE: THE SEASON OF SEED-PLANTING
1. The Call
2. The Commitment
3. Christian Communion
PART TWO: THE SEASON OF GROWTH
PART THREE: THE SEASON OF HARVEST
7. Contentment, Not Complacency
8. For Such a Time As This
You can purchase this book for $10.99 with FREE Shipping
BLACK HISTORY MONTH LINKS
Women in African American History
The Women's Hall of Fame
Coretta Scott King
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