Ida B. Wells: Mother of the Civil Rights Movement

Overview

The acclaimed civil rights leader Ida B. Wells (1862-1931) is brought vividly to life in this accessible and well-researched biography. Wells was a founder of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and she helped black women win the right to vote. But what she is most remembered for is the success of her lifelong crusade against the practice of lynching—called by some "our nation's crime"—in the American South. She fought her battle by writing and publishing countless newspaper ...

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Overview

The acclaimed civil rights leader Ida B. Wells (1862-1931) is brought vividly to life in this accessible and well-researched biography. Wells was a founder of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and she helped black women win the right to vote. But what she is most remembered for is the success of her lifelong crusade against the practice of lynching—called by some "our nation's crime"—in the American South. She fought her battle by writing and publishing countless newspaper articles and by speaking around the world. Her outspokenness put her in grave danger many times over, but she would not be silenced, and today she is credited with ending lynching in the United States. Her story is one of courage and determination in the face of intolerance and injustice. AFTERWORD, BIBLIOGRAPHY, INDEX.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"a stellar biography. The Fradin's compelling book is one that most libraries will want."—SLJ, Starred School Library Journal, Starred

Celebrated as the "Queen of the Black Race" and "The Princess of the Press," Ida B. Wells is best known for her turn-of-the-century anti-lynching crusade. Her biting editorials and inspired speeches against vigilantism inflamed Southern readers, brought public attention to a "crime against humanity," and rallied supporters. Ahead of her time in her aggressively nonconciliatory approach, she was also spurned by less militant Afican-American leaders of her day and avoided as a troublemaker. The Fradins recount Wells' fight for racial equality, her encounters with the day's personalities (Frederick Douglas confessed that "while he disapprvoved of lynching . . . he had assumed that the victims were guilty and weren't worth the time and effort of saving") and her extraordinary accomplishments: civil rights activist, journalist, editor, founding member of the NAACP, suffragist, political candidate, Chicago's first female probabtions officer, and still more. The portrait is well rounded, showing that the fearless and uncomprimising activist was also an overbearing mother and a blunt and undiplomatic individual.("I cannot or do not make friends. . . . My temper has always been my besetting sin"). Clearly captioned black and white illustrations, historical documents, and facsimiles are generoulsy interspersed, and students will welcome the insightful author's note, useful bibliography, and extensive index.
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"Celebrated as the "Queen of the Black Race" and "The Princess of the Press," Ida B. Wells is best known for her turn-of-the-century anti-lynching crusade. Her biting editorials and inspired speeches against vigilantism inflamed Southern readers, brought public attention to a "crime against humanity," and rallied supporters. Ahead of her time in her aggressively nonconciliatory approach, she was also spurned by less militant African-American leaders of her day and avoided as a troublemaker. The Fradins recount Wells' fight for racial equality, her encounters with the day's personalities (Frederick Douglas confessed that "while he disapproved of lynching . . . he had assumed that the victims were guilty and weren't worth the time and effort of saving") and her extraordinary accomplishments: civil rights activist, journalist, editor, founding member of the NAACP, suffragist, political candidate, Chicago's first female probations officer, and still more. The portrait is well rounded, showing that the fearless and uncompromising activist was also an overbearing mother and a blunt and undiplomatic individual.("I cannot or do not make friends. . . . My temper has always been my besetting sin"). Clearly captioned black and white illustrations, historical documents, and facsimiles are generously interspersed, and students will welcome the insightful author's note, useful bibliography, and extensive index." The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, Starred

"Near the end of her life, Ida B. Wells-Barnett was smuggled into a prison to meet with 12 sharecroppers who had been consigned to death row for trying to organize; instead of offering comfort, she tartly told them to stop singing spirituals and start hoping for freedom here on Earth. In the Fradins’ view, that was Wells all over: an outspoken journalist who never softened or compromised and who lashed at blacks and whites with equal fervor at any sign of accommodation to racial inequity. . . . She is chiefly remembered, however, for her long crusade against lynching, sparked by the violent death of a Memphis acquaintance. After reading the Fradins’ brutal, explicit accounts of several lynchings and race riots, and seeing the horrifying photos that alternate with formal portraits of Wells’ family and prominent associates, it will be easy to understand the rage."

Booklist, ALA, Starred Review

"This is a well-researched book, and the historical information it provides would be useful to the middle school student where needed." Book Report

From The Critics
This focused, well-written biography chronicles the life of teacher, writer, publisher and civil rights champion, Ida B. Wells. Together with her contemporaries, Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass, she worked tirelessly for African-American and women's rights. Most notably, she struggled almost single-handedly to eradicate the lynching of African-Americans at the whim of bigoted white folk. This civil rights worker, though, is not as well-known because her outspoken and uncompromising demeanor often made her fall out of favor with many of her supporters. In fact, her significant role in the civil rights movement went largely ignored until the 1970s when a new generation of women began searching for role models. A strong descriptive and detailed narrative make this a must read for young adults. Coupled with good photographs and a comprehensive index, student researchers will find this an invaluable sourcebook. Adults are cautioned, though, that graphic pictures of actual lynchings might disturb some students. Genre: Biography/Civil Rights 2000, Clarion Books, 178p
Children's Literature - Children's Literature
For many Americans the name Ida B. Wells is little known. Yet, as this admirable biography explains, Ida B. Wells was one of the leading lights in the American Civil Rights Movement. Born as a child of southern slaves, Ida came of age in a nation that paid at most lip service to democracy as applied to African-Americans. As a young woman Ida learned first hand that she could be bodily thrown off a train for sitting in a forbidden "whites only" section. Bravely, Ida chose to challenge that act of discrimination in a monumental court case. Unfortunately, Ida's efforts to address her own experiences in court ended in defeat. However, in an effort to find a way to support her five younger siblings after their parents' death, Ida turned to journalism. In this field Ida made a name not only for herself but also for the rights of African-Americans at large. Over a more than forty year period Ida wrote in defense of human rights. Her particular focus was the horror of lynching which erupted across America from 1890 on. At a time when innocent African-Americans could be shot, hanged, burned, or tortured to death while thousands of whites cheered, it took a brave spirit to oppose such brutality. Ida took up that challenge and, at the risk of her own life, wrote about the reality of American "lynch law." In addition to working to bring an end to lynching, Ida also took a stand for women's' suffrage, an end to segregation, and voting reform. For over thirty years Ida became a national figure. She also was a dynamic beacon for reform in her newly adopted hometown of Chicago. A brave-hearted person, loving mother, and political activist, Ida B. Wells stands out as one of the most dynamic women inAmerican history. It is a sad fact that her great efforts have been generally overlooked by historians. This capably written and amply illustrated biography does well to outline the life of this fascinating and compelling person. 2000, Clarion Books, Ages 12 up, $18.00. Reviewer: Greg M. Romaneck
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780395898987
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 1/28/2000
  • Pages: 192
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Lexile: 1140L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Dennis Brindell Fradin is the author of many books for young readers, including the well-received SAMUEL ADAMS: THE FATHER OF AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE and, with coauthor and wife Judith Bloom Fradin, IDA B. WELLS: MOTHER OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT. He lives in Evanston, Illinois.

Judith Bloom Fradin has collaborated with Dennis Brindell Fradin

on several award-winning books for young readers, includinng Fight On! Mary Church Terrell's Battle for Integration, selected as one of 2004's Best Books for Young Adults among other honors. The Fradins live in Evanston, Illinois

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