Erin Aubry Kaplan on Ida B. Wells

“She was kicked out of every group she started.”

Ida B. Wells. What a woman. Born in slavery she became one of the most famous women in America, a bold investigative journalist and outspoken activist for the Civil Rights of African-Americans and women, founding her own newspaper as well as co-founding the NAACP. Ida B. Wells wrote about segregation and racial inequality, ultimately focusing her brilliant mind and fearless heart on the scourge of lynching, the unpunished murders of black men and women in America. She was viciously attacked for speaking out about “racial terrorism”, as she named it, but it didn’t stop her. In 2020 Ida B. Wells was posthumously awarded the Pulitzer Prize for her groundbreaking work and its legacy. Erin Aubry Kaplan tells us the story, beautifully capturing the spirit of this powerfully determined woman.


Erin Aubry Kaplan

Erin Aubry Kaplan is a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times. She is a journalist and author who was the first weekly African-American columnist for The Los Angeles Times, from 2006 to 2007. Before that, she was a staff writer for LA Weekly and New Times Los Angeles. Ms. Kaplan is the author of two books, “Black Talk, Blue Thoughts, and Walking the Color Line: Dispatches From a Black Journalista” and “I Heart Obama.” Her essays and reporting have appeared in many anthologies, including “Rise Up Singing: Black Women Writers on Motherhood,” which won an American Book Award in 2004. She has taught creative nonfiction in the M.F.A. writing program at Antioch University, Los Angeles.

Featured Woman

Ida B. Wells

Ida B. Wells was an African American journalist, abolitionist and feminist who led an anti-lynching crusade in the United States in the 1890s. She went on to found and become integral in groups striving for African American justice.