Ida B. Wells awarded Posthumous Pulitzer Prize for 1890's anti lynching crusade
Pulitzer Prizes announced 2020 posthumous winner, Ida B. Wells. An African American journalist, abolitionist and feminist who led an anti-lynching crusade during the 1890s in the United States.
The Pulitzer Prize Board awarded this honour to Ida B. Wells for "her outstanding and courageous reporting on the horrific and vicious violence against African Americans during the era of lynching".
Born into slavery in Mississippi 1862, Wells moved to Tennessee as a young woman to teach education and later to work as a journalist. Ida B. Wells wrote about issues of race and politics in the South. A number of her articles were published in Black newspapers and periodicals under the name "Lola".
Three Black men in Memphis were lynched, which motivated Wells to begin her anti-lynching campaign in 1892. She also investigated white mob violence and lynchings across the South, the work she became most famous for.
In newspapers, Wells exposed the lie that white mobs were lynching Black men because of crimes they’d committed and showed that these killings were part of white communities’ attempts to reinforce the racial caste system.
Due to threats to her life, Ida B. Wells moved from Memphis to the North, where she continued to write in-depth reports on lynching in America. This is where she also founded National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs, to fight for civil rights and women’s suffrage.
Writer Michelle Duster, Wells' great-granddaughter said on Twitter, "What an amazing honour for my great-grandmother #IdaBWells to be recognised by @PulitzerPrizes almost 90 years after she gained her wings!".
Michelle added, "Her life is a testament to the importance of #truthtelling, even in the face of danger. May she continue to be an inspiration!".
Michelle Duster shares gratitude to Ida B. Wells on Twitter: