The Ida B. Wells Memorial Foundation seeks to protect, preserve and promote the legacy of Ida B. Wells. We support organizations, programs, and projects that focus on education, superior journalism, social justice, equality and integrity.
The Foundation was founded in 1988 in Chicago, Illinois by five of her grandchildren - her daughter Alfreda's children. Over the years some in the next generation became involved. Since 2013 three great-grandchildren, who are based in Chicago, have managed the Foundation.
For the first two decades the Foundation focused on giving journalism awards and supporting research about Ida B. Wells. In 2009 the Ida B. Wells Scholarship was established to award three outstanding students per year at Rust College, which is Ida B. Wells' alma mater. In 2015 a scholarship in the name of Donald L. Duster (1932-2013) was established at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to honor the grandson of Ida B. Wells. He was also one of the founders of the Foundation and a great supporter of higher education. To date the Foundation has awarded over $40,000 in scholarships.
The Foundation supported the initiative to rename a major downtown street in Chicago to Ida B. Wells Drive, plus have an honorary street, Ida B. Wells Way, and historical marker dedicated in her Bronzeville neighborhood in Chicago.
In addition, they provided support and guidance in the creation of the Ida B. Wells National Monument, the Barbie doll, and several films. In 2022, they supported the inaugural Ida B. Wells Festival in Wells' Bronzeville neighborhood in Chicago.
The Foundation also provides resources and shares knowledge with the Ida B. Wells-Barnett Museum in Holly Springs, MS. In 2013 the Founder's Garden was created to honor the founders of the Foundation who are also grandchildren of Ida B. Wells. In 2021 the garden was expanded and a bench will be added in the future. Your generous donations will help make that effort a reality.
Ida B. Wells was a journalist, a civil rights activist and a suffragist. She also was a wife, mother and elder whose matriarchal influence on our family remains strong and intact. As her descendants, we are excited by the rising interest in Ida B. Wells being honored for the work she contributed to this country. It is our family’s hope that those invoking her legacy, images and work do so in a manner consistent with the spirit of truth, justice, and inclusion that she lived her life by.
The Foundation is focused on education-based activities and projects. We are politically neutral and do not endorse political candidates. There are several organizations and groups that have sought our support and input regarding their projects or initiatives and we appreciate their diligence in reaching out to us for our unique perspective.
- The Family of Ida B. Wells
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