Ida B. Wells Monument Unveiled in Chicago

Okema Lewis takes a photo of the newly unveiled The Light of Truth Ida B. Wells National Monument in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood, in honor of the journalist and civil rights activist, on Wednesday. (Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune via AP)

The Ida B. Wells Monument was unveiled Wednesday at 37th & Langley among a crowd of spectators, public officials, Bronzeville, and former Ida B. Wells Home residents.  The 20-foot-tall sculpture “Light of Truth” was designed by Chicago artist and sculptor Richard Hunt. The monument has three bronze columns, with spirals, coils, Ida B. Wells biographical facts, and one of her famous quotes, “The way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth upon them.” The monument is the first in the City of Chicago to honor a black woman.

The monument was commissioned by the Ida B. Wells Commemorative Committee. Michelle Duster, the great-granddaughter of Ida B. Wells, had to let the ceremony sink in that after 13 years of support from donors and hard work, the monument has become a reality.

“After working on this project for over a decade, the reality that it is finished is still sinking in. I realized the other day that if the project were a child, it would be graduating from 8th grade now. I truly hope that the monument will be a source of pride for the Bronzeville neighborhood where my great-grandmother lived for over 35 years, as well as the whole city, state, and nation. Ida B. Wells spent her entire adult life fighting for justice and equality. This awe-inspiring monument, created by world-renowned Chicago native Richard Hunt, should inspire people to see their own power and continue her work” says Michelle Duster.

At the Ida B. Wells Dedication Ceremony, violinist Windy Indie open the program with her performance of the hymn “Lift Every Voice & Sing.  Bryan Stevenson, of the Equal Justice Initiative, actress Tika Sumpter and Mariame Kaba, organizer & author, paid virtual tributes and congratulations on the historic moment.  Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, 4th Ward Alderwoman Sophia King, and journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones made remarks about the life and legacy of Ida B. Wells and the lack of monuments and statues honoring black women.

“It’s important who we celebrate and who we choose to celebrate. I feel Ida B. Wells’ spirit here today,” says Ald. King.

“We are all standing on her shoulders. The ground that she walked on, the legacy, and the history that she carved into this country. We are the beneficiaries of her life and legacy, and we dare not forget that” says Mayor Lightfoot.

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SOURCE: Chicago Defender, Tammy Gibson

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