Monument Lab

Up With Ida: A Monumental Teach-In for Ida B. Wells at the University of Mississippi

Episode Summary

This week we speak with author Michelle Duster, great-granddaughter of the investigative journalist, educator, suffragist and truth teller Ida B. Wells. Duster talks about her upcoming trip to the University of Mississippi, where scholars and students have organized the Ida B Wells Teach In: A Monument to Justice. We are joined by two of the event organizers, History Professor Garrett Felber and graduate student Beth Kruse, and together we discuss the effort to rename the University’s journalism school after Ida B. Wells, a struggle to remove a confederate monument from the heart of campus, and their ongoing efforts to seek what they highlight as “reparative justice” for the campus, sparked by Wells’ memory.

Episode Notes

Ida B. Wells was an investigative journalist, an educator, a suffragist, a truth teller. She was born in Holly Spring, Mississippi in 1862. As an African American woman, she moved to Memphis and then Chicago, as she built a national reputation for her civil rights work. She reported and revealed the horrors of lynching in pamphlets and publications including Southern Horrors and The Red Record. Today, her great-granddaughter, author Michelle Duster, carries on her legacy. She has retraced Wells’ footsteps in the pursuit of justice, including leading efforts in the city of Chicago to dedicate the new Ida B. Wells Drive and to fundraise for a monument to her late great-grandmother in the city’s Bronzeville section.

This week, Duster travels to the University of Mississippi, where scholars and students have organized the Ida B Wells Teach In: A Monument to Justice. We speak with Duster, and two of the organizers, History Professor Garrett Felber and graduate student Beth Kruse. The event was planned in response to an effort to rename the University’s journalism school after Ida B. Wells. It also occurs in the face of a struggle to remove a confederate monument from the heart of campus, all a part of ongoing efforts to seek what they highlight as “reparative justice” for the campus, sparked by Wells’ memory.