Thursday’s Google Doodle celebrates the 153rd birthday of journalist Ida B. Wells.
Fearless and uncompromising, she was a fierce opponent of segregation and wrote prolifically on the civil injustices that beleaguered her world. By twenty-five she was editor of the Memphis-based Free Speech and Headlight, and continued to publicly decry inequality even after her printing press was destroyed by a mob of locals who opposed her message.
In Illinois, March 25 is Ida B. Wells Day. From the Illinois resolution:
WHEREAS, Ida B. Wells was a seminal figure in Post-Reconstruction America and one of the great pioneering activists for civil rights for African-Americans long before the Civil Rights Movement, as it has come to be known in history; her achievements have not received the attention they deserve as she was a fierce activist for both African Americans and women, challenging traditional power structures as well as leadership within activist movements, and as a journalist reporting first-hand and publicizing the widespread atrocity of lynching; and
WHEREAS, Ida B. Wells was born into slavery on July 16, 1862, in Holly Springs, Mississippi, 6 months before President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation; her parents, Jim and Elizabeth, taught her the value of education and of speaking her mind; she was orphaned at 16 and left college to become a teacher to care for her 5 remaining siblings and keep them together;
The resolution details Wells’ life and accomplishments, including her work as one of the founders of the NAACP and her work as a journalist covering race riots and lynchings.
It ends with this:
WHEREAS, Ida B. Wells’ tireless work and great dedication to the civil rights movement is deserving of the greatest honor; therefore, be it RESOLVED, BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE NINETY-SEVENTH GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, that we designate the date of March 25, 2012 as Ida B. Wells Day in the State of Illinois in honor of Ida B. Wells and her great work with the civil rights movement
On May 5 of this year, Google Doodle honored journalist Nellie Bly.