Born into slavery in 1862, Ida B. Wells went on to become an influential reformer and leader in the African American community. A Southern black woman living in a time when little social power was available to people of her race or gender, Ida B. Wells made an extraordinary impact on American society through her journalism and activism. Best-known for her anti-lynching crusade, which publicly exposed the extralegal killings of African Americans, Wells was also an outspoken advocate for social justice in issues including women's suffrage, education, housing, the legal system, and poor relief.

In this concise biography, Kristina DuRocher introduces students to Wells's life and the historical issues of race, gender, and social reform in the late 19th- and early 20th-century U.S. Supplemented by primary documents including letters, speeches, and newspaper articles by and about Wells, and supported by a robust companion website, this book enables students to understand this fascinating figure and a contested period in American history.

part I|167 pages

Ida B. Wells

chapter |4 pages


chapter Chapter 1|29 pages

Establishing Citizenship, 1862–87

chapter Chapter 2|26 pages

Memphis Agitations, 1887–92

chapter Chapter 3|34 pages

New Horizons, 1892–1900

chapter Chapter 4|35 pages

Pioneering Efforts, 1900–18

chapter Chapter 5|29 pages

The Political Arena, 1918–31

chapter |8 pages


An Elusive Legacy

part II|41 pages


chapter Document 1|4 pages

T. Thomas Fortune on “The Negro and the Nation”

chapter Document 7|7 pages

Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Mob Rule in New Orleans 1900

chapter Document 8|6 pages

Ida B. Wells-Barnett, The Arkansas Race Riot, 1920