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Topics in Chronicling America - Ida B. Wells

“The facts have been so distorted that the people in the north and elsewhere do not realize the extent of the lynchings in south,” stated Ida B. Wells in June of 1895. Wells worked tirelessly to fight against lynching in the American South through newspapers, pamphlets, and speeches. A former school teacher, she is remembered for her work in both civil and women’s rights. Read more about it!

The information and sample article links below provide access to a sampling of articles from historic newspapers that can be found in the Chronicling America: American Historic Newspapers digital collection ( Use the Suggested Search Terms and Dates to explore this topic further in Chronicling America.


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Important Dates:

  • 1880s-1900s. Ida B. Wells works on many newspapers, writing especially about racial discrimination and lynching in the South.
  • 1893-1894. Travels to Europe, speaking about lynching in the American South.
  • 1895. Publishes “A Red Record,” a detailed account of lynching in the U.S.
  • 1895. Marries Ferdinand Lee Barnett.
  • 1909. Assists in founding NAACP but withdraws her membership.

Suggested Search Strategies:

  • [Try the following terms in combination, proximity, or as phrases using Search Pages in Chronicling America.]
  • Try the following terms in combination, proximity, or as a phrase using Search Pages in Chronicling America: Ida B. Wells, lynch, lynching, negro, Red Record.
  • It is important to use a specific date range if looking for articles for a particular event in order to narrow your results.
  • Try variations on names or terms. Ida B. Wells was sometimes referred to as “Ida Wells,” “Ida B. Wells-Barnett” or “Ida Wells-Barnett.” For best results use the proximity search for Ida within 5 words of Wells.

Sample Articles from Chronicling America:

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  March 4, 2016
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