Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Ida B. Wells: Let the Truth Be Told

Myers, Walter Dean. 2008. Ida B. Wells: Let the Truth Be Told. Ill. by Bonnie Christensen. New York: Amistad Collins.

This is an older title, but perfect for Women's History Month.

Well-known, award-winning author, Walter Dean Myers, turns his considerable skills to this biography of Ida B. Wells (1862-1931), writer, activist, suffragist, businesswoman. Ida B. Wells was born into slavery in Mississippi.  Following the Civil War and the death of her parents in a yellow fever outbreak, Ida became a teacher to support her many siblings.  Using her skills learned as a teacher, Ida became a writer.  From suffering ill-treatment at the hands railroad employee, Ida became an activist. The lynching of several friends created in Ida B. Wells, a full-fledged crusader - writing and  lecturing, at home and overseas, on the atrocity of lynching.  As an activist, she met with other like-minded leaders - Susan B. Anthony, Frederick Douglass, and W.E.B. DuBois, to name a few. She was a talented writer and a successful business person - driven not by personal gain, but by an unwavering sense of fairness and humanity.
Ida Wells spoke up for what she believed.  Her weapons were her keen  mind and her pen. ... For more than a half century this dynamic, intelligent woman used her writing skills to promote freedom, safety, and justice.
It is amazing that the story of such an influential woman could have fallen out of our collective consciousness in such a short amount of time. Kudos to Walter Dean Myers for placing this story into the hands of young readers. Back matter includes a timeline and selected quotes from Ida Wells. At forty pages, with  pen and watercolor illustrations, this is an ideal book for grades 4 and up.

In 1990, Ida B. Wells was honored with a US Postal Service commemorative stamp.

During Women's History Month, please be sure to stop by the blog that I am hosting with fellow blogger, The Fourth Musketeer, KidLit Celebrates Women's History MonthAuthors and kidlit bloggers have pitched in to offer compelling posts related to women's history for each day in March.

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