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Crusade for Justice

The Autobiography of Ida B. Wells, Second Edition

Second Edition

With a New Foreword by Eve L. Ewing and a New Afterword by Michelle Duster

Crusade for Justice

The Autobiography of Ida B. Wells, Second Edition

Second Edition

With a New Foreword by Eve L. Ewing and a New Afterword by Michelle Duster
“She fought a lonely and almost single-handed fight, with the single-mindedness of a crusader, long before men or women of any race entered the arena; and the measure of success she achieved goes far beyond the credit she has been given in the history of the country.”—Alfreda M. Duster
Ida B. Wells is an American icon of truth telling. Born to slaves, she was a pioneer of investigative journalism, a crusader against lynching, and a tireless advocate for suffrage, both for women and for African Americans. She co-founded the NAACP, started the Alpha Suffrage Club in Chicago, and was a leader in the early civil rights movement, working alongside W. E. B. Du Bois, Madam C. J. Walker, Mary Church Terrell, Frederick Douglass, and Susan B. Anthony.
This engaging memoir, originally published 1970, relates Wells’s private life as a mother as well as her public activities as a teacher, lecturer, and journalist in her fight for equality and justice. This updated edition includes a new foreword by Eve L. Ewing, new images, and a new afterword by Ida B. Wells’s great-granddaughter, Michelle Duster.

An audiobook version is available.

496 pages | 10 halftones | 5-1/2 x 8-1/2 | © 2020

Biography and Letters

Black Studies

Chicago and Illinois

History: American History

Women's Studies


"[Wells was] a sophisticated fighter whose prose was as thorough as her intellect."

Walter Goodman | New York Times

"No student of black history should overlook Crusade for Justice."

William M. Tuttle, Jr. | Journal of American History

"Besides being the story of an incredibly courageous and outspoken black woman in the face of innumerable odds, the book is a valuable contribution to the social history of the United States and to the literature of the women’s movement as well."

Elizabeth Kolmer | American Quarterly

"This book chronicles what would become groundbreaking journalism and community service. . . . We get a clearer picture of how integral women like [Wells] have been to the 'Lift as we climb' black club women’s movement, but also how black women’s activism was shaped after that. . . . Both [Eve L. Ewing and Michelle Duster] bring fresh insight into why Wells’ work is resonant today and how Wells’ work is still relevant. If you want a good understanding of why Ida B. Wells . . . is a historically significant figure on a national and international level, then this is the book that proves a more inclusive history is necessary."

Newcity Lit

"It’s a classic that should be read just as often as the works of her contemporaries Frederick Douglass and W.E.B. Du Bois."

Book Riot

Table of Contents

Editor’s Foreword
1. Born into Slavery
2. Hard Beginnings
3. New Opportunities
4. Iola
5. The "Free Speech" Days
6. Lynching at the Curve
7. Leaving Memphis Behind
8. At the Hands of a Mob
9. To Tell the Truth Freely
10. The Homesick Exile
11. Light from the Human Torch
12. Through England and Scotland
13. Breaking the Silent Indifference
14. An Indiscreet Letter
15. Final Days in London
16. "To the Seeker of Truth"
17. "Inter-Ocean" Letters
18. In Liverpool
19. In Manchester
20. In Bristol
21. Newcastle Notes
22. Memories of London
23. "You Can’t Change the Record"
24. Last Days in Britain
25. A Regrettable Interview
26. Remembering English Friends
27. Susan B. Anthony
28. Ungentlemanly and Unchristian
29. Satin and Orange Blossoms
30. A Divided Duty
31. Again in the Public Eye
32. New Projects
33. Club Life and Politics
34. A Negro Theater
35. Negro Fellowship League
36. Illinois Lynchings
38. Steve Green and "Chicken Joe" Campbell
39. Seeking the Negro Vote
40. Protest to the Governor
41. World War I and the Negro Soldiers
42. The Equal Rights League
43. East Saint Louis Riot
44. Arkansas Riot
45. The Tide of Hatred
46. The Price of Liberty

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