x
Breaking News
More () »

Ida B. Wells' birthday celebrated with second phase of plaza groundbreaking

Iconic journalist and activist Ida B. Wells was honored on Saturday with a groundbreaking for a plaza in her namesake. Another phase of the dedication is also set.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Historic journalist and activist Ida B. Wells was honored on Saturday with a groundbreaking for a plaza in her namesake. Another phase of the construction dedication is also set for the future.

The Ida B. Wells Memorial Plaza is located at the corner of Fourth and Beale. Right now there is only a statue of Wells. The next phase is said to be more interactive, telling the story of her time here in Memphis.

Dr. Rychetta Watkins is on the Ida B. Wells Memorial Committee. 

"[This plaza] pulls in visitors from the other end of Beale Street to reconnect this end of Beale Street that has so many sites that are important to Black Memphis history and culture," she said.

Construction is said to be done in Spring of 2023.

Saturday marked what would be Wells' 160th birthday. In her honor, the Ida B. Wells Museum and Cultural Center of African-American History also unveiled new bricks in her honor.

Rev. Leona Harris is the museum's executive director. 

"Her life started here and she went on to become one of our nation's greatest leaders," Harris said. "To me, she's a she-ro."

Harris said that the site is where Wells had her experiences as a teacher.

"She wanted to write," Harris said. "She was a great journalist, and not only that, she was an investigative journalist."

As an early civil rights leader, one of Wells' major challenges in her early life was fighting Jim Crow-ism.

"These three men who were friends of hers—the guys got put in jail," Harris said. "When they put them in jail, the Ku Klux Klan broke them out of jail and took them out and hung them. That devastated Ida B. Wells. That's when she [launched] her anti-lynching crusade, and she fought that until she passed."

Wells even took her activism to England. It was there that she organized women and groups that put pressure on America to end lynching.

"She was involved in the women's movement, and because of that, you and I can vote today," Harris said. "I think that's one of the greatest things she did."

A founding member of the N.A.A.C.P., Ida B. Wells' memory and achievements live on.

"Anything Ida B. Wells came in contact with and didn't agree with and felt that it was wrong, she would always put herself in there to try to make it right," Harris said. "Ida B. Wells was a crusader for justice."

   

Paid Advertisement

Before You Leave, Check This Out