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To Tell the Truth Freely: The Life of Ida B. Wells

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4.08  ·  Rating details ·  139 ratings  ·  17 reviews
Born to slaves in 1862, Ida B. Wells became a fearless antilynching crusader, women’s rights advocate, and journalist. Wells’s refusal to accept any compromise on racial inequality caused her to be labeled a “dangerous radical” in her day but made her a model for later civil rights activists as well as a powerful witness to the troubled racial politics of her era. In the r ...more
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published February 17th 2009 by Hill and Wang
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Phylicia Luckett
Nov 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Ida B. Wells story is so under-rated. Growing up, I heard very little about Ida B. Wells but her story is definitely a must-read. She fought in times when women didn't even have a voice and rights. She fought for justice for both people of color and women. She build and helped build some of the biggest organizations that are still around for people of color and women today. She did all this while raising a family. Reading this, I was shocked about the lack of credit and support she received then ...more
Jess
Jul 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
I'm not a huge fan of biographies, but the legacy of Ida B Wells is so important and under-reported in the broader histories of civil rights that I wanted to know more. Her pioneering use of investigative reporting and media analysis to fuel her anti-lynching campaign is critical to how we still understand extrajudicial killings of black people in America.

If someone wanted to make a very long and sporadically entertaining video, the faces I made all all the shaking of my head as I read about ma
...more
Sarah
Jun 15, 2012 rated it really liked it


Fantastic bio of wells-Barnett. Should be great for my intro af-am class. Anxious to see what my students think of it.
Xiomara
Apr 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
A great autobiography by an amazing historian
Robin Friedman
Jun 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
A Civil Rights Pioneer

Ida B. Wells (1862 - 1931) was one of the first individuals to expose and oppose the lynching that became prevalent in the South and elsewhere in the years following Reconstruction. In the latter part of her life and for many years thereafter, Wells's life and accomplishments were in danger of being overlooked and marginalized. With the publication of her autobiography, "Crusade for Justice" (1971) and of her other writings together with several biographies, Ida
...more
Faith Crim
Aug 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ida B. Wells' story begins when her parents were freed from slavery. Her mother went with her to Sunday school and church receiving a Christian education. She was out of town when both her parents and infant sibling died of disease. She being the oldest sibling, took care of her younger siblings. Wells taught herself and became a teacher. She then took an interest in writing and became a journalist and newspaper editor as "Iola." A terrible lynching of three black men she knew prompted her to r ...more
Jennifer Schmidt
Nov 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Having never heard of Ida B. Wells prior, i thoroughly enjoyed this biography yet while being horrified by the post-Reconstruction events and the rise of Jim Crow laws. Yet she persevered to stand up for what was right in the face of racist people and a racist government bent on maintaining a white nationalist agenda.
Priscilla Yukich
Aug 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting and informative, Ida B. Wells was a woman to admire.

I was impressed with how determined and strong Ida Wells was. I can only imagine her frustration at times as she worked hard to put an end to the violent lynchings of her time.
Aarti
Aug 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Ida B. Wells is so inspiring - someone who fought for her ideals and stood firm in her beliefs every day of her life. Glad I got to know more about her in this book, and I hope she gets a statue in every city she lived in!
Andy
May 09, 2017 rated it liked it
An accessible, affectionate and respectful survey of the heroic life of Ida B. Wells. I'll have to look elsewhere for what I hoped for but didn't find in this work, such as more in depth treatments of her relationships with Douglass and Du Bois.
Renee Ortenzio
Feb 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Anti-lynching crusader, she was an incredible woman.
Kimberle Madden
Jul 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent research put into this
gnarlyhiker
Feb 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
recommend documentary: An Outrage: The History and Legacy of Lynching in the South by Hannah Ayers and Lance Warren (2017)

good luck
Riff Denbow
Sep 18, 2016 rated it it was ok
This book as okay. It could have been a lot better. The writing was pretty poor. Here is one example:
'The different clubs in the NACW were led by powerful regional leaders, and although Ida's reputation, powerful personality, and central role in the club's movement's origins made her a logical candidate for NACW leadership, both her personality and personal history effectively barred her from ever being considered.' So while Wells was qualified because of her personality, she was also not
...more
Valerie
Apr 16, 2016 rated it liked it
Ida B. Wells is an American hero.
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Mia Bay is an American historian and currently the Roy F. and Jeannette P. Nichols Chair in American History at the University of Pennsylvania. She was previously a professor of history at Rutgers University and director of the Rutgers Center for Race and Ethnicity. A 2010 Alphonse Fletcher Sr. Fellow and 2009 National Humanities Fellow, she is the author of two books on African American history a ...more