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Ida! If she's not your hero, she should be. She's mine.
I gave an interview for the Appendix Journal
, and cited her as a figure I'd like to make a comic about, but found it a hard thing, so that it never happened. The reason is easy - if you read about the things Ida Wells fought against, you won't laugh. You'll cry, I guarantee. And I thought, well I can't touch that woman with my dumb internet jokes, she's serious business. And she is.
But then, people use my comics as a launching device to learn history, and I would hope that part of what I do is to celebrate history, not just poke fun at the easy targets.
Anyway, I first saw a picture of Ida B. Wells at the Chicago History Museum. She was protesting the lack of African American representation at the Chicago World's Fair
. And I am not sure what it was, but the image stuck with me. You could feel a power in the presence of the lady with the pamphlets. I found out later that she was also handing out information on the terrible truths of lynching in America, a crusade that she is best known for, and rightly so. Her writing on the topic is readily available on the internet, and if you read it, well you'll spend a good deal of time wondering at the terribleness of humanity, but you'll also note that she knew how to handle a volatile topic like that with an audience who didn't want to hear it. But, Ida fought against injustice wherever she saw it. You'll be happy to know, that at the 1913 Suffragist Parade in Washington
, she was told to go to the back, but joined in the middle anyway
I'll leave you with this, a review of Paula J. Giddings' Ida: A Sword Among Lions, from the Washington Post
. Go forth, marvel at this woman, who was the best. Did I mention she was one of the first women in the country to keep her name when she married? A founding member of the NAACP? Ida! Just pioneer everything.