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Trailblazing before her time

by The 100 Companies

Ida B. Wells (1862-1931) was born into slavery during the Civil War. In 1884, after moving to Memphis, Wells was thrown off a first-class train despite having a ticket – an event that sparked her filing a lawsuit against a train-car company for unfair treatment and igniting her lifelong political activism. 

An accomplished journalist, Wells ultimately turned her attention to white mob violence. In 1892, following the lynching of three friends (accused of raping three white women), she published an expose in The Memphis Free Speech – where she was part owner – which enraged locals who drove her out of the city.

– Hannah Van Sickle, The Memphis 100

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The Memphis 100