Ida B. Wells-Barnett: Powerhouse with a Pen

Ida B. Wells-Barnett: Powerhouse with a Pen

by Catherine A. Welch

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Born to slave parents in 1862 in Holly Springs, MS, Ida Wells became a leader of her people before her time. As a young adult she saw the inequities that plagued her people, even though American law should have protected them and given them opportunities far beyond what they received. She became an outspoken advocate against the unfair, unequal treatment of African-Americans. In her speeches, magazine and newspaper articles, she decried their plight. She took up the cause against unfair trials and the lynchings of many innocent black men. Her powerful personality and forceful pursuit, however, gave her grief among her own people, as well as outside her ethnic group. Wells did not give up, even in the failed attempts at newspaper publishing, even when it seemed that all, except her husband, Frederick, were against her efforts. The book includes notes, a bibliography, an index, a table of contents and photographs and is a good introduction to a lesser-known leader of African-American rights. The book is part of the "Trailblazer Biography" series.
Children's Literature - Children's Literature
Born during the Civil War to parents who were slaves on a Mississippi plantation, Ida B. Wells grew up to become a leading African-American campaigner for civil rights and reform. Often overlooked when predominant civil rights advocates are chronicled, her advocacy and journalistic protests exerted a great impact upon the provision of greater social equity for African-American men and women. A person with a powerful pen, Ida B. Wells dedicated her life to combating segregation, social injustice, and intolerance. As a writer for several newspapers in both Memphis and Chicago, she focused much of her energy on a heartfelt effort to end the horrible practice of lynching. At a time when thousands of white people would turn out to watch the torture and lynching of a fellow human being, Ida risked her life to chronicle these terrible events. Such macabre happenings occurred not only in the south but in places like Illinois as well. Partially through her efforts, legislation was passed that helped end this barbaric practice. Beyond her work against lynching, Ida also dedicated time and effort toward publicizing the evils of segregation and prejudice directed toward African-Americans. While engaging in these crusading efforts, Ida was also the loving mother of four children and a supporter of Susan B. Anthony and the women's suffrage movement. A tireless reformer and person of great character, Ida B. Wells' life stands as a testimony to the effect that a dedicated person can have on the world. Her life is well chronicled in this informative and fascinating biography. 2000, Carolrhoda Books, Ages 10 up, $23.93. Reviewer: Greg M. Romaneck
When slavery ended in 1865, Ida B. Wells was three years old. Her family was able to have a good life because her father made a substantial living as a carpenter. Ida and her siblings attended school and acquired an education. After her parents died, Ida began teaching to earn money to care for her five siblings. She first experienced the ugliness of prejudice when she was removed forcibly from the first-class section of a train while a crowd of white passengers cheered. She sued the railroad and was awarded $500 in damages. Ida began writing articles for prominent black newspapers detailing the injustices faced by black citizens. In 1889, Ida became third owner of the Free Speech and Headlight newspaper, giving her a regular format to protest the Jim Crow laws and her people's reluctance to do anything about them. Fired from her teaching position because of her outspoken disappointment in the schools for black children, Ida was most vehement when she decried the hateful cruelty of lynching. Because police in the South wanted her, Ida traveled only around the northern United States and England, seeking support to abolish lynching, and she met with President McKinley to solicit his endorsement. She met and befriended Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass in her quest for equal and fair treatment of African Americans. She also was an early advocate of the NAACP. Stikingly clear black-and-white photographs provide the reader with accurate views of events in Ida's life. Except for a few lapses into colloquialisms, the author has presented a detailed and easy-to-read resource for middle school research. VOYA CODES: 3Q 2P M J (Readable without serious defects; For the YA with a specialinterest in the subject; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2000, Lerner, 103p, Index, Illus., Biblio., Source Notes, PLB. Ages 12 to 15. Reviewer: Brenda Moses-Allen VOYA, February 2001 (Vol. 23, No.6)
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6-This marginal account does not do justice to this important figure in the early 20th-century women's and civil rights movements. Welch is often repetitive and the writing is simplistic to the point of being misleading. The prose is didactic and lacks smooth transitions between chapters. Many of Wells-Barnett's thoughts are undocumented. Black-and-white photographs and illustrations appear throughout. The notes section consists of a dozen paragraphs that supplement information given in the text, but no sources are given, and students must reread the page to discover which part of the text the note refers to. Steve Klots's Ida Wells-Barnett (Chelsea, 1994; o.p.) and Dennis Brindell Fradin and Judith Bloom Fradin's Ida B. Wells: Mother of the Civil Rights Movement (Clarion, 2000), which is for a slightly older audience, are both superior to Welch's offering.-Leah J. Sparks, Bowie Public Library, MD Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|

Product Details

Lerner Publishing Group
Publication date:
Trailblazers Series
Product dimensions:
7.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.60(d)
910L (what's this?)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

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