Chicago plans first monument to Ida B. Wells

Chicago plans to build the nation’s first monument to the iconic anti-lynching publisher Ida B. Wells, according to her great-granddaughter, Michelle Duster. The monument will commemorate the 150th anniversary of Wells’ birth, July 16, 2012. “She’s included on a wall in Nashville, TN, and part of the exhibit at the Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, but there are no monuments to her anywhere,” Duster said. Since 1983, the National Association of Black Journalists has presented the Ida B. Wells Award “to a media executive, manager or journalist who has made outstanding contributions toward making American newsrooms and news coverage more accurately reflect the communities they serve.”

From a news release today:

The Ida B. Wells Commemorative Art Committee is pleased to announce the development of a monument to honor the life and times
of the historic Ida B. Wells – journalist, teacher, anti-lynching
crusader, women’s rights activist and civil rights pioneer.
To celebrate the upcoming 150th anniversary of Ms. Wells’ birth, July
16, 2012, world-renowned artist Richard Hunt, who is
Chicago based, will create a monument which will be located in
Bronzeville on the median strip on 37th & Langley.  Once
completed, the monument will be donated by the committee to the City
of Chicago’s Public Art Collection.

Ida B. Wells lived, worked and raised a family in the Bronzeville neighborhood of Chicago from 1895 – 1931. A housing project was named after her and stood in the neighborhood for over 60 years. In 2002 the last buildings were torn down.

Wells is also being honored Nov. 16 by the organizers of the proposed National Women’s History Museum with a ceremony at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, and is being inducted into the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame on Nov. 15.

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