Sculpture Honoring Ida B. Wells to be Built in Chicago
City Looks To Rebuild Wells' Legacy
An effort is under way to build a memorial sculpture of civil rights pioneer Ida B. Wells, whose name is also the namesake of the former housing projects once located on Chicago’s South Side.
The Ida B. Wells Commemorative Art Committee is in charge of raising money for the project—a sculpture in the middle of a large grassy median on 37th Street and Langley Avenue in the historically African-American neighborhood of Bronzeville on the city's South Side.
Chicago artist Richard Hunt is to create the sculpture, which is expected to combine images of Wells with inscriptions of her writings.
Wells was a crusader against injustice and outspoken anti-lynching activist who wrote about the lynching of African-Americans around the country as a journalist. Her rhetoric became a staple for the civil rights and women’s suffrage movements.
In 1940, three years after her death, the Chicago Ida B. Wells housing complex was built. The homes offered more than 860 apartments and nearly 800 row houses and garden apartments to low-income families. By the 1990s, the housing complex had become known for its gangs and drugs. Eventually the city tore down the buildings, along with several other housing complexes throughout the city.
The memorial sculpture is being built to restore and rebuild Ida B. Wells’ legacy.
"Her name itself just reverberates through the community," Carol Adams, president of Chicago's DuSable Museum of African-American History, who once worked in the Ida B. Wells Homes, told the Associated Press.
"It was her voice, her stance that she took regarding lynching and how she used the media to wage that fight, what that fight meant to us. This was very significant for black people all over the country."