H I C A G O
R I B U T E
spent her life crusading against lynching
in America. An advocate for civil rights, womans suffrage and
economic justice, her anti-lynching campaign stirred the
nation and brought international attention to racially
Born a slave in Mississippi,
Wells became a teacher at age
14. She was dismissed in 1891 for protesting segregation.
In her 20s, she began writing for the weekly Memphis Free
Speech, focusing on social issues. Her column soon
appeared in Negro newspapers across the country.
In 1893, Wells came
to Chicago to report on the lack of
African-American representation at the Worlds Columbian
Exposition. She moved here and in 1895 married Ferdinand
Lee Barnett, founder of Chicagos first black newspaper,
the Conservator. That same year, she published
A Red Record, the first statistical report on lynching, and she lectured
on the topic throughout the United States and the world.
Wells was a founder
of several national organizations, including the National Association for
the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1909, the Negro Fellowship
League in 1910, and the nations Þrst black womens suffrage
organization. Locally, Wells helped open the first kindergarten in Chicagos
Wells and her family
lived at 3624 Grand Boulevard, now King Drive, from 1919 to 1930.