Ida B. Wells-Barnett was an African-American woman of striking courage and conviction. She achieved nationwide attention as leader of the anti-lynching crusade.
Raised in Mississippi after the Civil War, Wells worked her way through Rust College and taught school in Memphis, Tennessee. A writer, she became part-owner of a newspaper, the Memphis Free Speech. In May 1892, in response to an article on a local lynching, a mob ransacked her offices and threatened her life if she did not leave town.
Moving to Chicago, Wells continued to write about Southern lynchings. While investigating, she would go directly to the site of a killing, sometimes despite extreme danger. In 1895, she published The Red Record, the first documented statistical report on lynching.
A forceful speaker, Wells lectured widely in the North and in Great Britain. She was a founding member of the National Afro-American Council, served as its secretary, and was chairman of its Anti-Lynching Bureau. Wells was also a founder of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
Wells married African-American rights advocate Ferdinand Barnett, and the couple published the Chicago Conservator. They were considered pillars of the black community of Chicago.
She died in 1930.