“The way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth upon them.”
“One had better die fighting against injustice than to die like a dog or a rat in a trap.”
Ida B. Wells was an incredibly strong and determined activist and journalist who led a national campaign against lynching, which called for a federal anti-lynching bill among other protections and actions. She owned her own paper, The Free Speech, in which she dared to print the truth about lynchings – that they rested upon a myth, as most lynchings were not actually about rape, and the charges of rape of white women by black men were false and trumped up. She bravely spoke the truth: that consensual interracial relationships existed in many of the supposed rape cases. Printing these uncomfortable truths forced Wells to go into exile in the North, as her life and her press were endangered by mob violence. Wells called for economic exit by black workers, in the form of strikes, boycotts, and migration to different towns, in order to hurt the pocket of white men to force them to make change. She also called for a strong black press that would do the work of muckraking, turning the light of truth on the lies printed by Southern papers about lynchings. Wells was also a fiery fighter against segregation. When she purchased a first class train ticket but was told to move to the segregated African American car, Wells refused to leave and got into a physical altercation with the crew and even bit one man’s hand. Wells also fought for suffrage rights – and ran for state senate!