HOLLY SPRINGS, Miss. (localmemphis.com) – On Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, a relative of pioneer activist Ida B. Wells spoke on the importance of making a difference.
Ida’s relative says greatness lives in us all, even if you don’t have the DNA of a civil rights advocate in your veins.
“His principles stood for a lot of things that Ida B. Wells’ did,” said Tiana Ferrell, the great great-granddaughter of Ida B. Wells. “They both stood for unity and to coming together for one nation. So I am honored to be here.”
Ferrell shares that she felt her ancestors smiling down on her as she participated in the MLK Day of Service.
“My family, when they were enslaved here,” Ferrell said. “This is a special place for me to be and definitely on MLK Day.”
A day she was in Ida’s birthplace.
“Ida B. Wells wasn’t an extraordinary person,” said Ferrell. “She was an ordinary woman from Holly Springs, Mississippi, who did extraordinary things.”
Wells, an activist and journalist, who led an anti-lynching campaign through the press, is still inspiring communities today.
“The fact that Ida B. Wells was born here and she was a civil rights activist before there was a term called civil rights activist,” said Mayor of Holly Springs, Kelvin Buck. “Just makes the connection really real.”
That connection didn’t come easy.
“She had a price on her head but she just kept going because she knew she had a story to tell,” commented Ferrell.
Residents gathered to pay tribute and reflect on how they can live out the dream of both Dr. King and their own hometown heroine.
“The good thing about this is not just dream about what you can do but put into action what you can do,” said Mayor Buck.
Though according to Ida’s relative, there is work still to be done before King’s dream is fulfilled.
“On certain days our ancestors would be proud at the way the world is coming,” said Ferrell. “On other days they would be ashamed that there are a lot of trivial things that are still going on.”