Ida B. Wells Honored With Monument

Contributed By Scott Lipscomb

A monument to journalist and civil rights activist Ida B. Wells-Barnett was unveiled Wednesday in Chicago.

The Light of Truth Ida B. Wells National Monument, was made by sculptor Richard Hunt was dedicated in the South Side neighborhood where Wells lived out her life.

The monument has three bronze columns that support intertwined bronze sheets twisted into coils and spirals. One observer had trouble describing the abstraction at the top of the monument, asking if it was a hat or a crown of thorns. She was more certain about the columns.

“It is interesting,” spectator Roberta Trotter told the Chicago Tribune. ”I just want to know what the artist thinks before I say more. But I do see a strong base. That, I understand — Ida was a strong woman.”

Granddaughter Michelle Duster said traditional busts and statues of Ms. Wells were considered, but she and others pushing for the monument preferred something interpretive, which she said projects Ms. Wells better than the literal.

The monument to Ms. Wells was financed by contributions made during a fundraising campaign over several years led by Ms. Duster. It sits on the site of the Ida B. Wells Homes, a housing project constructed in the 1930s, torn down in 2011 and replaced with market rate and subsidized housing the Chicago Associated Press noted.

“Hopefully it becomes a point of pride to Bronzeville, the kind of thing people want to serve as a backdrop to their lives here,” Ms. Duster said. “That’s what I want — a gathering spot.”

Wells is best known for reporting the lynching of African Americans in the South during the late 1800s – early 1900s.

Although she was threatened frequently be- cause of her work, she helped to found several civil rights organizations including the NAACP and the National Association of Colored Women.