Portrait of Civil Rights icon Ida B. Wells unveiled in Brooklyn

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Saturday, July 17, 2021
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A new portrait was unveiled in Brooklyn in honor of the late Civil Rights icon and journalist Ida B. Wells.

BROOKLYN (WABC) -- A new portrait was unveiled in Brooklyn in honor of the late Civil Rights icon and journalist Ida B. Wells.

Mayoral frontrunner Eric Adams joined members of Wells' family for the unveiling at Brooklyn Borough Hall on Friday morning.

Wells was a pioneering Black activist and journalist who fought for an end to segregation and documented the horrors of lynching.

"My great-grandmother Ida B. Wells was an astounding woman who overcame her fear for what was right even if it meant giving her life, I am proud to see her life of sacrifice and courage honored with the unveiling and inclusion of this gorgeous portrait on these hallowed walls," Joshua Duster said.

Wells, who was born a slave in 1862 in Mississippi, was a 30-year-old newspaper editor in Memphis, Tennessee, when she began her campaign against lynching. Wells' crusade was prompted by the 1892 lynching of a man whose first child was her godchild. She traveled the South over several months interviewing witnesses and reading reports of similar events, which she published in the newspaper she co-owned and edited, The Memphis Free Speech and Headlight.

In 2020, Wells was awarded a posthumous Pulitzer Prize for her reporting on the lynching of African Americans.

Although she was threatened frequently because of her work, she helped to found several civil rights organizations including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the National Association of Colored Women.

Wells died of kidney disease on March 25, 1931, at 68.

Her portrait was commissioned by Jacob K. Morris, and created by artist Charles Hearn.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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