By Dr. Marciene Mattleman
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A recent symposium on black history themes was held at the Moonstone Arts Center in Philadelphia. One page in the program was headed with the question, Who Was Ida B.Wells? The number of pages that followed told me she was important.
In 1884, when 25, on a trip from Memphis to Nashville, she bought a first class ticket. She was asked by the conductor of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad Company to give up her seat to a white man. He ordered her to the car for African Americans and when she protested, was forcibly removed. Wells sued the railroad and was awarded a $500 verdict. It was later overturned by the Tennessee Supreme Court.
Wells became an investigative journalist and confronted issues such as Jim Crow laws and lynching. Her reform efforts included winning the vote for African Americans and she formed the first women’s suffrage club in Illinois.
It’s Black History Month; learn more on the Internet about Ida B. Wells, who dedicated her life to fighting injustice.