Ida B. the Queen: The Extraordinary Life and Legacy of Ida B. Wells

Atria Jan. 2021. 176p. ISBN 9781982129811. $27. BIOG
Journalist and activist Ida B. Wells (1862-1931) is widely known for her campaign against lynching—work for which she was awarded a posthumous Pulitzer Prize in 2020. Yet, her antiracist work was far-reaching and intersectional, challenging her fellow activists to address the systemic sexism and classism, as well as racism, that shaped the lives of so many Black Americans. In this lavishly illustrated new biography, writer Duster, who is Wells’s great-granddaughter, explores the activist’s life and work through the lens of her family connection to Wells as well as our collective memory of Wells's impact and the continuing relevance of her approach to antiracist activism. Unlike many biographical treatments, this is not a strict chronological account of Well's life story, but rather a prismatic exploration of an activist’s work, vibrantly and effectively illustrated with archival documents, historical and contemporary photographs, and original illustrations. Weaving autobiography and family stories together with biographical research into Well’s life and work, Duster makes a compelling case for her enduring influence on the American political, social, and social justice landscape.
VERDICT Engagingly written and beautifully designed, this would be a powerful introduction to Ida B. Wells for any budding historian, journalist, or activist.
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