Listen Live

Today, Google Doodle celebrates the 135th birthday of Ida B. Wells, the journalist, newspaper editor, and civil rights activist who refused to give up her seat on a train about 70 years before Rosa Parks.

The daughter of slaves, Wells was born on July 16, 1862. She went on to lead an anti-lynching crusade in the United States in the 1890s, fighting for justice in cities across the nation, hence the Google Doodle of her sitting at a typewriter with luggage beside her. She died in 1931 in Chicago, Illinois.

A bit of background from

On one fateful train ride from Memphis to Nashville, in May 1884, Wells reached a personal turning point. Having bought a first-class train ticket to Nashville, she was outraged when the train crew ordered her to move to the car for African Americans, and refused on principle. As she was forcibly removed from the train, she bit one of the men on the hand. Wells sued the railroad, winning a $500 settlement in a circuit court case. However, the decision was later overturned by the Tennessee Supreme Court. This injustice led Ida B. Wells to pick up a pen to write about issues of race and politics in the South. Using the moniker “Iola,” a number of her articles were published in black newspapers and periodicals. Wells eventually became an owner of the Memphis Free Speech and Headlight, and, later, of the Free Speech. While working as a journalist and publisher, Wells also held a position as a teacher in a segregated public school in Memphis. She became a vocal critic of the condition of blacks only schools in the city. In 1891, she was fired from her job for these attacks. She championed another cause after the murder of a friend and his two business associates.

Social media also joined the celebration:



Illinois Woman Who Drove To Texas For New Job Found Dead In Jail Cell Days Later

Black Excellence: Google Doodle Honors Journalist Ida B. Wells On Her 135th Birthday  was originally published on