Ida B. Wells-Barnett: Journalist & Anti-Lynching Crusader
Ms. Wells was born on July 16, 1862 in Holly Springs, Mississippi. Both of her parents were slaves. In 1878, both of her parents died of yellow fever. Rather than have her five younger siblings split up, she took on the responsibility of raising them. To support her siblings, Wells passed an examination to become a teacher and obtained a job teaching at a country school.
Shortly thereafter, Wells' crusade for justice began when she challenged Jim Crow Laws in Tennessee. Wells brought a successful lawsuit against the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad in the Circuit Court after she was removed from her seat when she refused to give it up and sit in the "colored only" car. However, the Tennessee Supreme Court overruled the decision.
In 1891 under the pen name Iola, Wells wrote newspaper articles criticizing the educational resources available to African American children. Wells' anti-lynching crusade began in 1892 after three of her friends were lynched by a mob and she began writing newspaper articles condemning such acts. She also became a lecturer and organizer of anti-lynching societies throughout the United States and traveled to Great Britain to speak out against this heinous practice.
She organized African American women in anti-lynching campaigns and supported the suffrage movement, and published A Red Record (1895), which detailed lynching. In addition, she founded Chicago's Alpha Suffrage Club, the first black woman's suffrage group.
(From about.com, http://afroamhistory.about.com/library/weekly/aa112502a.htm)