Most Influential Black American Leaders of All Time - Daily American Buzz

Most Influential Black American Leaders of All Time

Ida B. Wells-Barnett

Best known for her tireless anti-lynching crusade, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, who penned the pamphlets, Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All Its Phases and A Red Record, 1892–1894, refused to bow down to white supremacy, even suing the railroad for demanding she give up her seat in 1884. A daughter of Mississippi, Wells-Barnett, working from Memphis in the 1880s, early 1890s, left her job as an educator to run the Free Speech and Headlight, a paper she partially owned.

When three friends were lynched, she used the paper to encourage Black Memphians to relocate and was herself forced to move to Chicago. Marriage and motherhood slowed her down but did not extinguish her fire for justice. One of the few African-Americans who always spoke her mind, Wells-Barnett opposed Booker T. Washington’s 1895 Atlanta Compromise speech immediately and backed away from the NAACP, despite participating in its open-call founding. Her own woman, Wells-Barnett supported black women’s rights and women suffrage.
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