The Ida B. Wells Monument in Chicago Is 1 Major Step Closer to Becoming a Reality

In this Dec. 2, 2011, photo, Michelle Duster, great-granddaughter of journalist and civil rights pioneer Ida B. Wells, holds a portrait of Wells in her home in Chicago’s South Side.
Photo: Charles Rex Arbogast (AP Images)

Thanks to a recent push on social media, the organizers of a monument to trailblazing journalist and civil rights activist Ida B. Wells have raised enough money—$300,000—to build the memorial.

The push was fueled in part by the anniversary of Wells’ birth this week, and fundraisers hosted by author and educator Mariama Kaba and New York Times journalist and MacArthur “genius grant” winner Nikole Hannah-Jones, the Chicago Tribune writes.


Hannah-Jones also used a Twitter campaign to harness more pledges and donations to the monument, which has taken 10 years to fund. Jones announced that organizers had reached their goal on Tuesday.

Momentum had grown this year to fund the Wells monument, which would pay tribute to her life and legacy. Wells was relentless in her coverage of lynchings and was a staunch advocate for women’s suffrage, despite the racism of her white suffragette peers.

The dream of her great-granddaughter, Michelle Duster, the Wells memorial will sit just a half mile from Wells’ home in Bronzeville, an area known as the “heart of Chicago’s black community during the Great Migration,” writes the Washington Post.


The organizing committee already has a sculptor in mind for the impressionistic bronze and granite statue that will bear Wells’ likeness.


As the Post noted earlier this year, despite living half her life in Chicago, Wells’ monumental work is “all but unrecognized” in the Windy City.

Duster told the Post, “our stories, our realities are very skewed toward the negative. Living my life as a black woman in this country, the perceptions people have are not based on reality. They’re based on propaganda.”


Duster added that the monument to her great-grandmother was her own way of “trying to add the positive stories.”

Share This Story

Get our newsletter

About the author

Anne Branigin

Staff writer, The Root. Sometimes I blog slow, sometimes I blog quick. Do you have this in coconut?