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Ida B. Wells: Topics in Chronicling America

Ida B. Wells was a civil rights activist who wrote in newspapers to advocate against lynching and racial discrimination. This guide provides access to material related to "Ida B. Wells" in the Chronicling America digital collection of historic newspapers.


Ida B. Wells in a group photo (First Row, Center). July 19, 1902. The Appeal (Saint Paul, Minnesota), Image 1. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.

“The facts have been so distorted that the people in the north and elsewhere do not realize the extent of the lynchings in south,” states Ida B. Wells in June of 1895.  Wells works tirelessly to fight against lynching in the American South through newspapers, pamphlets, and speeches.  A former school teacher, she is known for her work in both civil and women’s rights. Read more about it!

The information in this guide focuses on primary source materials found in the digitized historic newspapers from the digital collection Chronicling America.

The timeline below highlights important dates related to this topic and a section of this guide provides some suggested search strategies for further research in the collection.


1880-1900 Ida B. Wells works for several newspapers, writing especially about racial discrimination and lynching in the South.
1893-1894 Travels to Europe, speaking about lynching in the American South.
1895 Publishes A Red Record, a detailed account of lynching in the U.S.
1895 Marries Ferdinand Lee Barnett.
1909 Assists in founding NAACP but withdraws her membership.