Ida B. Wells: Journalist, Editor, Suffragist

Ida B. Wells (1862-1931)

Imagine if Ida B. Wells had the backing and support of a whole newspaper or magazine staff  (photo-journalists, a layout and design staff, and a research department) that could have helped bring her observations to light in a vivid and easily accessible way.  Would there have been as many lynching deaths in the United States?

Wells and others working to raise consciousness about racial violence ran up against the issue of accessibility and distribution.  The map below would not have been known to many people, widely available, or displayed publicly.

Lynchings By States And Counties in the United States 1900-1931 (Data from research department, Tuskegee Institute)

Today, through the advantage of historical distance, as well as technology that can organize data in easy-to-read, interactive, and “shareable” formats, the public is much more aware of how wide-spread lynching was.  See the following links for examples:

Imagine if Ida B. Wells had a blog.  What might it look like?  What would she link to? Who would she follow on Twitter?  Who would be her Facebook friends?  Would she publish photos of lynching victims on-line?

Consider how you use push-button publishing technology and social media.  If there is a cause that you feel passionate about, how might you use the technology at your fingertips to raise awareness about it?

See the Wikipedia article on Wells’ exceptional career and life.

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