Image - detail from book cover
Past Event

Ida B. the Queen: The Extraordinary Life and Legacy of Ida B. Wells

To discourage the inclusion of Ida B. Wells in the Paris Peace Conference in 1919, the FBI wrote that she “has addressed meetings of colored people and endeavored to impress upon them that they are a downtrodden race and that now is the time for them to demand and secure their proper position in the world. She is a very effective speaker and her influence among the colored race is well recognized . . . she is considered . . . one of the most dangerous negro agitators.”

Complimenting her own story of self-discovery and activism, Michelle Duster brings to life her great-grandmother’s lifelong dedication to the fight for racial justice. Wells' courageous and passionate organizing was appreciated by her allies Frederick Douglass, W.E.B Du Bois, and Harriet Tubman, who together presented a serious threat to the status quo. Duster’s extensive research on Well’s life and career reveals Ida’s journey from ferocious teen to pioneering journalist to anti-lynching crusader, relayed in the delicate and introspective voice of a family member. Duster connects the historical dots to show how Wells’ actions a century ago echo through the movements happening in the streets today. Indeed, people might not be able to fully comprehend the achievements of people like Rosa Parks and Colin Kaepernick without understanding the outstanding work of Ida B. Wells.

MLF Organizer
George Hammond

MLF: Humanities

This is an online-only program; please pre-register to receive a link to the live-stream event.

Part of our Good Lit series, underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation.

Our thanks to Marcus Bookstore in Oakland for fulfilling book orders.

This is a free-for-members program.

February 2, 2021

United States

Image - Michelle Duster

Michelle Duster

Adjunct Professor, Creative Writing, Columbia College Chicago; Author, Ida B. the Queen: The Extraordinary Life and Legacy of Ida B. Wells

Image - LaDoris Cordell

In Conversation with LaDoris Cordell

Judge (ret.); Member, Commonwealth Club Board of Governors