Bronzeville, City to honor pioneer Ida B. Wells
February 2, 2012
Ida B. Wells, a community activist of the late 19th and early 20th century, will be honored by an art installation in Bronzeville.

The Ida B. Wells Commemorative Art Committee has commissioned renowned Chicago sculptor Richard Hunt to create a monument honoring the 150th anniversary of Ida B. Wells’s birth. Wells, who was born July 16, 1862, was a journalist, teacher, anti-lynching crusader, women’s rights activist, and civil rights pioneer.

The monument will be installed in Bronzeville on the median strip on 37th Street and Langley Avenue. After completion, the committee will donate the work of art to the City of Chicago’s public art collection.

Wells lived in Bronzeville from 1895 to 1931. A housing project named for her stood in the neighborhood for more than 60 years but was torn down in 2002.

Former Ida B. Wells Homes resident Sandra Young, a Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) commissioner and Wells committee co-chair, said Wells “did so much important work for this city and the world, fighting for justice and equal housing, that we all felt the need to make sure people didn’t forget about her. With this monument, current and future generations can come to Bronzeville and learn about the great things that this strong woman did.”

The committee is part of the Oakwood Shores Working Group, designated by the CHA to oversee and provide input on planning, developing, and maintaining the mixed-income community replacing the Ida B. Wells public housing development.

The committee is composed of representatives of former Ida B. Wells public housing resident leadership; UJIMA Inc.; the office of 4th Ward Alderman Will Burns; the Habitat Co.; the CHA; the North Kenwood-Oakland Conservation Community Council; the Oakwood Shores Development Team; the Community Builders and Granite Development Co.; Business and Professional People for the Public Interest; the City of Chicago Department of Housing and Economic Development; the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events in partnership with the Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture; and Wells’s family members.

Wells’s granddaughter, Michelle Duster, an author and committee co-chair, said, “It is an amazing testament to this city that there is support to build a piece of public artwork to honor her legacy. Through her unrelenting focus to expose and stop injustice, she made an impact on the world.”

For more details, call (773) 382-6115, or e-mail info@idabwellsmonument.org.