Ida B. Wells (1862 - 1931)
The child of slave parents, Wells initiated her long and dedicated struggle for equality for blacks by sitting in a whites-only railroad coach. She was forcibly removed, after which she instituted a legal suit, which she won. Unfortunately, eventually a higher court struck down the decision. She then became a part owner of the Memphis Free Speech, writing articles condemning lynchings. Undeterred even by the destruction of her office by racist mobs in 1895, she began a one woman campaign against this terrible practice, lecturing in New York and Boston and founding antilynching societies and black women's clubs. In 1893 she published A Red Record, an uncompromising account of three years of lynchings. She participated in the founding of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People but, as an uncompromising militant, she withheld her full support from this somewhat conservative organization.