Descendants of Civil Rights Activist Ida B. Wells-Barnett pose with Sandra Young, a former president of the Ida B. Wells Homes public housing development. Photo by Mary C. Piemonte.
Remembering Ida B. Wells
Several Chicago public housing tenants representatives, city public officials and a few prominent people around town got together to remember what would have been the 150th birthday of civil rights activist Ida B. Wells on July 16 at the community room of 3750 S. Cottage Grove on the site of the mixed-income Oakwood Shores housing complex, two blocks from where organizers plan a monument in her honor. Oakwood Shores replaced the Ida B. Wells public housing development, the last section of which was demolished in August 2011.
The participants, including some of Wells’ relatives, mingled and ate hors d’oeuvres as they listened to Shirley Newsome from the Ida B. Wells Commemorative Art Committee give a brief update on the effort to build the memorial.
A world-renowned African American sculptor, Chicagoan Richard Hunt, was chosen to create a sculpture of Wells and he was on hand to speak about his process as well.
Afterward, some of the participants took a short walk to 37th Street and Langley Avenue, the future site of the monument. Wells lived in the Bronzeville neighborhood “where she lived, worked and raised her family from 1895 until 1931,” according to the Wells Art Committee, a subcommittee of the Oakwood Shores Working Group, which is a committee designated by the Chicago Housing Authority to oversee and provide input on planning, developing and maintaining the mixed-income community.
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