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Ida B. the Queen: The Extraordinary Life and Legacy of Ida B. Wells

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Called “a dangerous negro agitator” by the FBI, and a “brave woman” by Frederick Douglass, an inspiring biography of the American pioneer by Ida B. Wells’s great-granddaughter, Michelle Duster. Winner of a 2020 Pulitzer Prize Special Citation, Ida B. Wells was born enslaved in Holly Springs, Mississippi, in 1862. In this inspiring and accessible biography, Duster tells the Called “a dangerous negro agitator” by the FBI, and a “brave woman” by Frederick Douglass, an inspiring biography of the American pioneer by Ida B. Wells’s great-granddaughter, Michelle Duster. Winner of a 2020 Pulitzer Prize Special Citation, Ida B. Wells was born enslaved in Holly Springs, Mississippi, in 1862. In this inspiring and accessible biography, Duster tells the incredible story of Wells’s life, including stories from her childhood in Mississippi, her famous refusal to give up her seat on a ladies’ train car in Memphis, and her later work as a pioneering journalist and anti-lynching crusader. Overlooked and underestimated, Wells would single-handedly change the course of American history and come to inspire millions. Ida B. the Queen shines a bright light on one of the most extraordinary women in history.


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Called “a dangerous negro agitator” by the FBI, and a “brave woman” by Frederick Douglass, an inspiring biography of the American pioneer by Ida B. Wells’s great-granddaughter, Michelle Duster. Winner of a 2020 Pulitzer Prize Special Citation, Ida B. Wells was born enslaved in Holly Springs, Mississippi, in 1862. In this inspiring and accessible biography, Duster tells the Called “a dangerous negro agitator” by the FBI, and a “brave woman” by Frederick Douglass, an inspiring biography of the American pioneer by Ida B. Wells’s great-granddaughter, Michelle Duster. Winner of a 2020 Pulitzer Prize Special Citation, Ida B. Wells was born enslaved in Holly Springs, Mississippi, in 1862. In this inspiring and accessible biography, Duster tells the incredible story of Wells’s life, including stories from her childhood in Mississippi, her famous refusal to give up her seat on a ladies’ train car in Memphis, and her later work as a pioneering journalist and anti-lynching crusader. Overlooked and underestimated, Wells would single-handedly change the course of American history and come to inspire millions. Ida B. the Queen shines a bright light on one of the most extraordinary women in history.

30 review for Ida B. the Queen: The Extraordinary Life and Legacy of Ida B. Wells

  1. 4 out of 5

    Elyse Walters

    Audiobook.... read by the author - 3 hours and 44 minutes Interesting? YES!!! ... of both Ida B. Wells and Michelle Duster Learned a lot about a woman I knew little about? YES!!! Inspiring? YES!!! I wanted to meet both the kick ass Ida and her great great granddaughter/ author Michelle Duster. “Princess of the Press” wasn’t a term I ever remember hearing anywhere — but somehow — it’s a phrase that will stay with me ... in association with BOTH Ida B Wells and Michelle Duster .....forever! And ... ( l Audiobook.... read by the author - 3 hours and 44 minutes Interesting? YES!!! ... of both Ida B. Wells and Michelle Duster Learned a lot about a woman I knew little about? YES!!! Inspiring? YES!!! I wanted to meet both the kick ass Ida and her great great granddaughter/ author Michelle Duster. “Princess of the Press” wasn’t a term I ever remember hearing anywhere — but somehow — it’s a phrase that will stay with me ... in association with BOTH Ida B Wells and Michelle Duster .....forever! And ... ( little tidbit).... any woman who takes a bite out of an adult man bully... is a woman after my own heart. Years ago ( I was in 5th grade), I got sent to the principals office for ‘biting’ a bully while playing basketball during physical education. I got in a ‘little’ trouble — but the principal told me (secretly) - that that bully deserved what I did to him. Ida was an INCREDIBLE ACTIVIST.... and so is Michelle. I’m only sorry I haven’t seen the photos - which are in the physical book. — I’ll find a way - next time I’m in a book store or library. Many thanks to Betsy Robinson whose review inspired me to read ( listen) to this informative/ engaging book!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Rosa Sealy

    Ida B. the Queen started promising and turned into a disappointment. Ida is a phenomenal figure in history that doesn't get enough recognition. I was hoping to recommend this to others but it falls short. The writing is disjointed and sporadic. I can't figure out if this is a biography, semi-autobiography, history? In the middle of the sentence about Ida - the next page talks about Sarah Bartman, then Black Lives Matter. Since the author is a direct relative, I assumed she would add some persona Ida B. the Queen started promising and turned into a disappointment. Ida is a phenomenal figure in history that doesn't get enough recognition. I was hoping to recommend this to others but it falls short. The writing is disjointed and sporadic. I can't figure out if this is a biography, semi-autobiography, history? In the middle of the sentence about Ida - the next page talks about Sarah Bartman, then Black Lives Matter. Since the author is a direct relative, I assumed she would add some personal elements or unknown details but that is also lacking. Unfortunately, I would not recommend it. I received a copy of this book from Netgalley.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Elisheva

    The summary on the back of the book led me to believe that the book was a biography of Ida B. Wells. However, the book was more of a contextualization of Wells' activism within the larger context American history and the Black experience in America. Overall, the book was fine and an interesting read, but it somewhat disorganized and hard to follow. I often had to parse sentences with awkward structures, contractions, random moments of first person narration, and excessive superlatives. I liked h The summary on the back of the book led me to believe that the book was a biography of Ida B. Wells. However, the book was more of a contextualization of Wells' activism within the larger context American history and the Black experience in America. Overall, the book was fine and an interesting read, but it somewhat disorganized and hard to follow. I often had to parse sentences with awkward structures, contractions, random moments of first person narration, and excessive superlatives. I liked how the book had sources and citations in the back, but the author frequently ascribed thoughts and feelings onto Wells without citing to a source for those thoughts. Did Wells really think x and y or was the author projecting onto Wells? How did the author reach those conclusions about Wells' behavior? I love primary sources and would have loved to see more. (But maybe I'm just a nerd who likes citations too much.) The book would benefit from some further editing and organization. Some thoughts on the current organization of the book: -The "Timeline" (currently chapter V) would be better placed at either the front or back of the book, but definitely not randomly dropped in the middle. The timeline was also a weird mix of bullet points and sentences - a uniform structure would make it easier for the reader to follow. -"Who Ida Was to Me") (currently chapter II), is one of the few sections written in first person and would be a great Author's Note or (chapter one) at the front of the book as it explains the author's relationship to Wells and why the book was written. -"Who was Ida B Wells" (currently chapter I) is a great hook to draw the reader into the book but feels disconnected from the rest of the book by the current chapter II. -"How Ida Became Ida" (current chapter IV) is a brief biography of Wells' early life and would be better served as chapter three. -"A Voice for the People" (currently chapter III) discusses Wells' activism and part, but only part of her adult life. It should come after the chapter about Wells' early life. -"A Powerful Legacy" (currently chapter VI) is an argument connecting Wells' activism to contemporary social and racial issues. The argument was compelling but a lot was lost due to the disjointed nature of the chapter. It would benefit from some clarity. -"In her Name and Tradition: Tributes to Ida" (currently chapter VII) was a way to end the book. As a reader, the constant time and tonal shifts was hard to follow. Furthermore, the author had side bars that discusses tangential historical and contemporary issues which provided context to the reader. While I liked the idea of the side bars, I was perplexed at their purpose - some reiterated information already written in the main text, or had no connection to the text on the page. For example, about Tuskegee airmen simply said that they existed and to read about them to visit a specific museum. The sidebar on the Underground Railroad was later repeated word-for-word in the main text and seemed redundant. Some information within the main text would be better served as a side bar (ex: the multi-paragraph tangent about recent activism around discrimination against POC due to their natural hair). Sometimes the author went into detail explaining basic historical information and other times, the author assumed the reader already had the basic context for the historical background and jumped into how it related to Wells. The Underground Railroad was provided with a basic background explanation but the Peace Conference (which I later deduced was referring to the talks that occurred after WWI) was not. Another example is with Frederick Douglass - the author discusses Douglass multiple times but does not give a basic biography of him until nearly 100 pages into the book. I got an advanced reader copy from a Goodreads giveaway.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Caroline David

    I have always admired Ida B. Wells. She is inspiring for so many reasons and I find myself looking to her as one of the greatest feminists and equal rights activists ever. But this book didn't do it for me. It felt a little self-serving for the author and less about her grandmother. I wanted to feel inspired and motivated but I felt like I was reading more about the author's life than the legacy of Ida B. Wells. I hate to leave a negative review but I feel like the intention of the book wasn't e I have always admired Ida B. Wells. She is inspiring for so many reasons and I find myself looking to her as one of the greatest feminists and equal rights activists ever. But this book didn't do it for me. It felt a little self-serving for the author and less about her grandmother. I wanted to feel inspired and motivated but I felt like I was reading more about the author's life than the legacy of Ida B. Wells. I hate to leave a negative review but I feel like the intention of the book wasn't executed that well and I can't say I enjoyed it all too much.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Hupe

    Thank you, Goodreads, Atria Books, and Michelle Duster for the opportunity to read this book! Ida B Wells is one of the most extraordinary women in history and she doesn’t nearly get enough recognition. Ida B. The Queen by Michelle Duster is an extraordinary book that highlights Ida B. Wells’ life, work, and history. Ida B. Wells was born in 1862, in Mississippi and born enslaved. In 1892, Ida’s friends, Thomas Moss, Calvin McDowell, and William Stewart were murdered in the Curve Riot. That is wh Thank you, Goodreads, Atria Books, and Michelle Duster for the opportunity to read this book! Ida B Wells is one of the most extraordinary women in history and she doesn’t nearly get enough recognition. Ida B. The Queen by Michelle Duster is an extraordinary book that highlights Ida B. Wells’ life, work, and history. Ida B. Wells was born in 1862, in Mississippi and born enslaved. In 1892, Ida’s friends, Thomas Moss, Calvin McDowell, and William Stewart were murdered in the Curve Riot. That is when she wrote one of her first articles about lynching called, Southern Horrors: Lynch Laws in All Its Phases. She was an activist and a journalist who did not back down. She dedicated her life to protecting Black lives. This book is also filled with other activists who were inspired by her. This book is not just any book. It is personal. The author is the great-granddaughter of Ida B. Wells herself. The book is filled with pictures, journal entries, and newspaper articles throughout her life. When I originally saw some reviews of this book, I was surprised by all the negativity surrounding this book. The author clearly wants to emphasize how Ida B. Wells inspired generations even to this day. The book even touches on modern-day issues and connects them to moments in history. You know what they say, “those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it.” That is clearly obvious with the social justice issues that are still happening today. I loved everything about this book. While it is not an in-depth book of just one person’s life, it is how that life inspired a movement. Que Hamilton— “This is not a moment, it’s a movement.” What an incredible woman! It really infuriates me that she is still only a footnote in current history classes. We really need to address how we teach history and how we often ignore the most important figures. I really recommend this read and to pick up the works of Ida B. Wells Barnett. This book gets 5 out of 5 stars.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth A.G.

    Written by her great-granddaughter, this book is more than a biography of journalist, civil and political rights advocate, suffragist, and anti-lynching activist Ida B. Wells, but also a historical perspective on the African American struggle for political and social rights which still resonates today. Author Michelle Duster has done her research of her family tree and also of the era in which her great-grandmother lived and the impact of Wells's Black advocacy years after her death in 1931 and Written by her great-granddaughter, this book is more than a biography of journalist, civil and political rights advocate, suffragist, and anti-lynching activist Ida B. Wells, but also a historical perspective on the African American struggle for political and social rights which still resonates today. Author Michelle Duster has done her research of her family tree and also of the era in which her great-grandmother lived and the impact of Wells's Black advocacy years after her death in 1931 and into present day. Ida Wells was born into slavery in 1832, but with the end of slavery and the hard work of her parents, she was college educated, taught school and ultimately turned to journalism with part ownership in her own newspaper which gave her a platform to expound upon the injustices she saw in the treatment of Blacks in the legal system and the inequalities in society. As a journalist she was known as "Iola Wells," a name she adopted after a print error in the spelling of her name. Her determination and perseverance were not dimmed even with threats to her safety and life. The author tells of Ida's involvement with other high profile Black rights advocates and groups, her publication, The Red Record, which detailed physical brutality and lynchings against Black men for trumped up charges, and her support of Black women's rights, and her involvement in the establishment of the NAACP. The author's message is clear that her great-grandmother stood up for what is right and has set the example for future generations of women advocates for social justice. I had heard of journalist "Iola Wells" but this book brings to light the brave woman who sought justice for her race. One difficulty I had with the book was the jumping from one time period to another in the author's attempt to connect Ida to her era and her impact on later movements, and moving from the events of the twentieth century impacting twenty-first century events. An interesting and enlightening book!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Caleb

    Ida B Wells is my favorite historical heroine. This is a great telling of her life.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sharon Huether

    Ida grew up the eldest of eight children, Her parents were slaves. Ida was front and center when it came to racial issues. Ida published her concerns in the Evening Star and wrote in The Living way. She used the name Iola in her newspaper columns. She also wrote in the Little Rock Sun, Washington Bees and the American Baptist. She was paid one dollar a week. In 1913 she was involved with the "National Equal Rights league" and the Boston Guardian. Ida countered the Black Perspective to counter propaga Ida grew up the eldest of eight children, Her parents were slaves. Ida was front and center when it came to racial issues. Ida published her concerns in the Evening Star and wrote in The Living way. She used the name Iola in her newspaper columns. She also wrote in the Little Rock Sun, Washington Bees and the American Baptist. She was paid one dollar a week. In 1913 she was involved with the "National Equal Rights league" and the Boston Guardian. Ida countered the Black Perspective to counter propaganda. She helped get the "Lynch Law" enacted in Georgia. Today there are monuments to Ida B. Wells. Streets in her name. Ida B. Wells Homes in Chicago, US Post office in Holly Spring Miss., a historical marker installed in Chicago July 20, 2029, plus a museum in Miss. She was posthumous awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 2020 Special Citation as an iconic pathbreaker in American History. I won this free book from Good reads First reads.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Erricka Hager

    Eek, this is such a difficult review to write. Sadly my expectations for this book were very high and Ida B. the Queen never reached them. Like my fellow reviewers, I struggled with deciphering what exactly the intention of this was. I originally thought it was a mixture of a biography and a history book? I was hoping that we would get a few family secrets since the author is a descendant of Ida. Sadly, this ended up being a huge letdown, and trust me this hurts typing this during Black History Eek, this is such a difficult review to write. Sadly my expectations for this book were very high and Ida B. the Queen never reached them. Like my fellow reviewers, I struggled with deciphering what exactly the intention of this was. I originally thought it was a mixture of a biography and a history book? I was hoping that we would get a few family secrets since the author is a descendant of Ida. Sadly, this ended up being a huge letdown, and trust me this hurts typing this during Black History Month. I will say I enjoyed gaining new knowledge about Ida's life but I think this book could benefit from better organization of the chapters and information that was shared.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Madalyn (booksandcatsandnaps)

    Ida B. was a phenomenal figure in history and I was excited to start this book. However, this was less of a fully fleshed out biography and more of a non-linear summarization of her life. This is a good starting point for learning more about her though and it's written and narrated by her great-granddaughter. I do wish though that this was looked over a bit more as I did notice that the date of Malcolm X's (El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz) death was incorrectly stated as February 14th. Ida B. was a phenomenal figure in history and I was excited to start this book. However, this was less of a fully fleshed out biography and more of a non-linear summarization of her life. This is a good starting point for learning more about her though and it's written and narrated by her great-granddaughter. I do wish though that this was looked over a bit more as I did notice that the date of Malcolm X's (El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz) death was incorrectly stated as February 14th.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Teresa

    Last night I was able to attend a Zoom presentation through Politics & Prose to hear the author, Michelle Duster, Ida B's great granddaughter, speak. She was thoughtful, articulate and insightful in detailing how the book is laid out and her objectives for writing it. She wants to inform young people about the American history that isn't taught in schools. I especially appreciated reading this book following her presentation. I was approximately 60 pages in before hearing her speak. The over arc Last night I was able to attend a Zoom presentation through Politics & Prose to hear the author, Michelle Duster, Ida B's great granddaughter, speak. She was thoughtful, articulate and insightful in detailing how the book is laid out and her objectives for writing it. She wants to inform young people about the American history that isn't taught in schools. I especially appreciated reading this book following her presentation. I was approximately 60 pages in before hearing her speak. The over arching goal of illustrating the horrific, continuous hardships and racism that so many have endured is definitely achieved. I knew of some of the incidents sited in this book and there were others that I was unfamiliar with. How is it that our educational system misses relaying so many of the painful moments in our history? Reading books like this one will definitely help in furthering the national effort for racial equality and reparations. The author provides other brief bios of those who significantly contributed in the fight for civil rights. And, the art work (by artist, Monica Ahanonu) is stunningly beautiful! Photos and historical objects and locations are pictured throughout the book.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Victoria Law

    I hadn't realized that this was a middle grade book. It is a valuable introduction to young people who may not know about IDA B WELLS-Barnett. Duster makes sure to tie Wells' legacy to future struggles for racial justice. I wish this book had been around when my daughter was 10. But if you've already read Wells' autobiography and/or Paula Giddings' biography, be warned that you won't find anything new here. I hadn't realized that this was a middle grade book. It is a valuable introduction to young people who may not know about IDA B WELLS-Barnett. Duster makes sure to tie Wells' legacy to future struggles for racial justice. I wish this book had been around when my daughter was 10. But if you've already read Wells' autobiography and/or Paula Giddings' biography, be warned that you won't find anything new here.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Miriam

    This slim book is one of many I’ve recently read about important and prominent African-Americans. Sadly, the book is difficult to follow, jumping around in time, adding asides and tangents rather than grouping them together. The ARC is full of black and white photographs and illustrations, some poorly identified. It’s also not clear who the audience is for this book, YA, children, or adults. Such a shame as this book could have been a valuable addition to reading lists for Black History Month in F This slim book is one of many I’ve recently read about important and prominent African-Americans. Sadly, the book is difficult to follow, jumping around in time, adding asides and tangents rather than grouping them together. The ARC is full of black and white photographs and illustrations, some poorly identified. It’s also not clear who the audience is for this book, YA, children, or adults. Such a shame as this book could have been a valuable addition to reading lists for Black History Month in February. I received an ARC from the BookLoft of German Village (Columbus, OH) http://www.bookloft.com

  14. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    Title: Ida B. the Queen: The Extraordinary Life and Legacy of Ida B. Wells Author: Michelle Duster Read by: Michelle Duster Publisher: Simon & Shuster Audio Length: Approximately 3 hours and 43 minutes Source: Review Copy from Simon & Shuster Audio. Thank-you! Do you have an icon in history that you admire? I somehow had not heard of Ida B. Wells growing up, or if she was mentioned in history books, it was a fleeting reference. I didn’t learn about her as an adult until I listened to a History Chick Title: Ida B. the Queen: The Extraordinary Life and Legacy of Ida B. Wells Author: Michelle Duster Read by: Michelle Duster Publisher: Simon & Shuster Audio Length: Approximately 3 hours and 43 minutes Source: Review Copy from Simon & Shuster Audio. Thank-you! Do you have an icon in history that you admire? I somehow had not heard of Ida B. Wells growing up, or if she was mentioned in history books, it was a fleeting reference. I didn’t learn about her as an adult until I listened to a History Chicks podcast about her last year after she was posthumously awarded the Pulitzer Prize for journalism. I was amazed by her life story and was confused on why I didn’t know more about this amazing woman. When I had the opportunity to review this audiobook about Ida B. Wells that was written by her great granddaughter, Michelle Duster, I snapped at the chance. Ida B. the Queen is not a standard biography or memoir. Michelle Duster tells snippets of Ida’s life and how it impacted her as well as how Ida’s story fits in with contemporary news and black history overall. Halfway through the book Duster gives a great timeline of Ida’s life and Civil Rights. It was wonderful to see how it fit together. She also gave Ida’s early history in this section. At age 16, Ida’s parents lost her parents to yellow fever and she was in charge of taking care of her siblings. She took a teaching job mile outside of town to earn money to keep her family together. What an amazing sister. Throughout her life, when Ida B. Wells saw an injustice, she said and did something about it. Two moments that really struck me from the book was when Ida B. Wells saw that a family friend and successful store owner was unfairly lynched in Memphis, she was rightly outraged. She made it her mission to research lynching in America and to write about it. She gave talks around the world about it. She didn’t sugar coat it. Lynching was used as a tool to ensure that African Americans didn’t succeed and were kept “in their place.” Ida was also kicked out of the first class car of a train and she sued the railroad to try to gain equality. Ida B. Wells was a suffragette but found that the movement was distancing itself from women of color. Instead of being pushed to the back of the parade, she inserted herself in her states group right up front where she belonged as a major member of the group. One quote in the book really struck me - history is never far away. Even though Ida B. Wells was doing her work a century ago, sadly many of the things she was working for continue to happen today. Her quotes about the East St. Louis riots are just are relevant today. Sadly, lynching is still not outlawed on the federal level. This book gave me a lot to think about. I loved that Ida B. Wells great granddaughter, Michelle Duster, not only wrote this book, but she was the narrator. It gave it a personal touch. Overall, Ida B. the Queen is a great introduction into the life of Ida B. Wells and how it fits into black history and contemporary times. This review was first posted on my blog at: https://lauragerold.blogspot.com/2021...

  15. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    I was excited to listen to this audiobook because I, sadly, do not know much about Ida B. Wells. After listening, I still don't feel like I know much about her. This gives random bits of information about her and the idea that overall she was an amazing woman, which is great, but I just really didn't enjoy how disjointed the book is. Like I said, information about Ida is actually few and far between with random bits of other Black history sprinkled throughout in a non-linear, sporadic way. The B I was excited to listen to this audiobook because I, sadly, do not know much about Ida B. Wells. After listening, I still don't feel like I know much about her. This gives random bits of information about her and the idea that overall she was an amazing woman, which is great, but I just really didn't enjoy how disjointed the book is. Like I said, information about Ida is actually few and far between with random bits of other Black history sprinkled throughout in a non-linear, sporadic way. The Black history lessons are all good, but I just did not love the way it flowed, in that it didn't. It jumped all over the place in a jarring way. As a book that was supposed to be about the extraordinary life and legacy of Ida, it didn't really come through.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Misty Galbraith

    I went into this thinking it would be about the life of Ida B, but it is more like an encyclopedia of many movements and eras of black history...unfortunately, it is hard to follow and disjointed. I wanted to learn about an amazing woman. I now have a good overview of important people, facts, dates, etc which will be valuable as a reference book and tool of learning. But this is not a biography.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Laurie

    I enjoyed learning about Ida B Wells. She had an amazing life, and a great influence on history. The book was somewhat hard to follow though, jumping around from person to person and topic to topic.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    The book has so much information, but it just skims the surface. Mentions of significant events are brief highlights where entire chapters could be dedicated to them. The book also jumps around quite a bit and is repetitive. I did enjoy it but felt it could've been so much better. The book has so much information, but it just skims the surface. Mentions of significant events are brief highlights where entire chapters could be dedicated to them. The book also jumps around quite a bit and is repetitive. I did enjoy it but felt it could've been so much better.

  19. 5 out of 5

    jewelthinks

    Beautiful illustrations. Much needed account added to the canon of work on the fearless Ida B. Wells.

  20. 5 out of 5

    samantha londer

    i, unfortunately, knew very little about Ida B. Wells going into this book and upon finishing it, i feel like i only have a very general knowledge of her life and accomplishments because a lot of this book was very repetitive and surface level. i expected this to be more of a biography and i suppose that’s on me. however, for a bulk of the book, Ida is relegated to the background and a bunch of other activists are discussed. this would have made sense if she had worked directly with them but that i, unfortunately, knew very little about Ida B. Wells going into this book and upon finishing it, i feel like i only have a very general knowledge of her life and accomplishments because a lot of this book was very repetitive and surface level. i expected this to be more of a biography and i suppose that’s on me. however, for a bulk of the book, Ida is relegated to the background and a bunch of other activists are discussed. this would have made sense if she had worked directly with them but that was rarely the case. this book is supposed to highlight Ida's life and achievements, but the author talked about activists and social justice movements from the past 20 years. i would have rather read more of Ida’s writing which the author regularly mentioned but rarely included or learned more details about the railway case that Ida initially won that was later overturned. there were so many interesting things MENTIONED but then glossed over. they weren’t even glossed over once, but multiple times; sometimes a single incident, organization, or event would be mentioned in various chapters with very similar information. structurally this book was...confusing. it started off strong in chapter one with a brief introduction to Ida, but then chapter two was about the author’s connection to Ida. while interesting, it felt like something that should maybe be a forward or author’s note. there’s also a timeline in the middle of this book about progress made over the course of 400 years which would have made more sense at the beginning or end of the book. throughout the main narrative of the book, there were inserts of random facts that didn’t always relate to what was being discussed in the main narrative. for example, the main narrative was talking about other activists who were being followed by the fbi and then there was an insert about the Tuskegee airmen. umm?? there were certain paragraphs in this book that were excellent and i loved the bit of Ida's writing that was included, but i just wished this was better. i won an arc in a goodreads giveaway and was sent a copy from atria books in exchange for an honest review - thank you!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth Higginbotham

    Ida B. the Queen by Michelle Duster is an accessible portrait of the famed Black woman’s life by her great granddaughter. As Duster writes about the history and she places Ida B. Well-Barnett’s life in context. Born in 1862, at the end of slavery, Ida sees the hard work of her parents, who had their own unique experiences in slavery. Her father voted and keep up with the news. The oldest child, she learned to read and write, because she had access to educational opportunities during Reconstructi Ida B. the Queen by Michelle Duster is an accessible portrait of the famed Black woman’s life by her great granddaughter. As Duster writes about the history and she places Ida B. Well-Barnett’s life in context. Born in 1862, at the end of slavery, Ida sees the hard work of her parents, who had their own unique experiences in slavery. Her father voted and keep up with the news. The oldest child, she learned to read and write, because she had access to educational opportunities during Reconstruction. Her parents die of Yellow Fever in 1878, which also took the life of one brother. Rather than split up the family, Ida took responsibility for her siblings. Young, but determined, she got a teaching job, but had a long commute. Other family members helped, but she held the family together. As Reconstruction ends, we see Jim Crow laws reshaping the options for Black people in the South. As segregation because the standard on the railroads, Ida was put off the train, but not without a fight. She sued the railroad, one lawyer took a bribe, but the next did follow her case and she won, but after two the Supreme Court overturned the decision. These experiences soured her on the law, but it was also how she found her voice. In addition to teaching, she wrote for newspapers. She started a newspaper in Memphis, but was out of town when her friends were lynched in 1892. She pioneered investigative journalism, traveling to the sites and talking with people. She unraveled the myths behind lynching, talking about how it was a strategy to eliminate competition and also terrorize the Black community. Her writing about lynching meant she had to leave the south, but she encouraged others to do so—many want to Oklahoma and Kansas. She went east to New York and later Chicago, where she settled. Her column was reprinted in many Black newspapers, but she was never rich. Initially alone, but she traveled with other activists and journalists who were challenging the status quo. So, this book lets readers see how she was part of a group of women and men who were fighting for the right to vote, the end of discriminating, including lynching. As states pass Jim Crow laws, Wells can see the nature of her life changing. Also, how the struggles of people in her community are more intense. Young Black men could not find work in Chicago, so they hang out in pool halls, and other places where they are under the surveillance by the police. She started a Negro Fellowship League to give people a place to sleep, read and prepared for work. Her own work as a probation officer also keeps her in the mix. The league was also a place where people met and discussed matters. Wells-Barnett is well known for work with NAACP, National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs as well as organizations in Chicago, where she married Ferdinand Barnett and had four children. She was always active in groups and even tried to run for office. The investigative journalism is important, as Wells-Barnett covers major race riots in different parts of the country, like East St. Louis, Houston and Elaine, Arkansas. Armed with evidence from interviews with members of the community, she then meets with political officials and in some cases and gets change. Of course, no one could get Woodrow Wilson out of his racism. She is important in the Suffrage Movement, even if she had conflicts with White women on the national level. However, Duster makes it clear that she is part of many movements, as the stories of Ida’s contemporaries are incorporated into the text. She also documents the many men and women who followed in her footsteps. Ida dies in 1931, but her legacy and inspiration are important. This book can help readers understand Reconstruction, the push of Black people leaving the south in the face of violence, the challenges around World War I, and the struggles to get the attention of political leaders. There are many time lines and charts, as well as illustration, pictures as well as graphics of key people. There are contemporary struggles, but they can be linked to a wider history. It is important to use your voice, as we see how many people, including Black women found their voice and worked for change, even in out current era.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Bookreporter.com Biography & Memoir

    This contemporized portrait of Ida B. Wells, an icon of the struggle for women’s rights and racial equality, has been compiled by her great-granddaughter, Michelle Duster, herself an activist and journalist. Ida B. Wells was born into slavery during the Civil War. By the time she was 21 and working as a teacher, her personal experience became the motivation for a lifetime of advocacy for Black Americans and challenge of white authority. Riding in the “ladies’ car” of a commuter train to get to an This contemporized portrait of Ida B. Wells, an icon of the struggle for women’s rights and racial equality, has been compiled by her great-granddaughter, Michelle Duster, herself an activist and journalist. Ida B. Wells was born into slavery during the Civil War. By the time she was 21 and working as a teacher, her personal experience became the motivation for a lifetime of advocacy for Black Americans and challenge of white authority. Riding in the “ladies’ car” of a commuter train to get to and from her employment, she was ordered to go to the “colored” car. She physically fought with conductors as white passengers looked on and cheered her opponents. Wells continued to take the ladies’ car until she was confronted once again, initiated a lawsuit and eventually won $500, a huge sum at the time, and gained “one of the greatest gifts she could have imagined” --- a newspaper article about her victory. She would go on to edit, have part ownership in and write scathing reports of racial injustice for a pioneering newspaper, and march and fight for women’s suffrage even as she was ignored or held out of the limelight by white leaders. She wrote to and boldly visited President Wilson, a noted segregationist; was one of the outspoken founders of the NAACP; and authored numerous articles and made memorable speeches decrying the treatment of her fellow Black citizens, drawing attention to lynchings and the unequal treatment of Blacks in the military. After she passed away in 1931, her name and accomplishments gradually gained recognition, with historical markers, films and other tributes. Duster’s brightly illustrated book is a laudable amalgam of her great-grandmother’s achievements and indomitable spirit melded with the names and deeds of other activists who have followed in her footsteps, each generally accompanied by simple, vivid color portraits and salutary short essays. These include such well-known political groundbreakers as Stacey Abrams, Maxine Waters and Kamala Harris, mavericks like Bree Newsome and Colin Kaepernick, and celebrated figures like Medgar Evers and Jesse Jackson. Much of the activism and professional action of these notables had roots in the foundations and the fights instigated and supported by Wells in the previous century. Duster believes that Ida B. Wells is “a giant in our country’s history,” whose dedication to civil and human rights invoked benefits that are and will continue to be appreciated and admired. Reviewed by Barbara Bamberger Scott

  23. 5 out of 5

    Porshea DiMera

    What we know about Ida B. Wells-Barnett, her work, the era she lived in, and her legacy depends on so many variables. Because most of our school history books devote little more than a sentence, if that, towards acknowledging her existence, it falls upon us to seek out her story. As luck would have it, one of Mrs. Ida’s descendants, Michelle Duster, is still around to use not only family memory but also the meticulous documentation of her great-grandmother’s revolutionary story. The oldest child What we know about Ida B. Wells-Barnett, her work, the era she lived in, and her legacy depends on so many variables. Because most of our school history books devote little more than a sentence, if that, towards acknowledging her existence, it falls upon us to seek out her story. As luck would have it, one of Mrs. Ida’s descendants, Michelle Duster, is still around to use not only family memory but also the meticulous documentation of her great-grandmother’s revolutionary story. The oldest child of a six sibling family, Ida was thrust into major responsibilities around age eighteen when her formerly enslaved parents succumbed to cholera leaving her to nurse her similarly stricken siblings to health and manage a household where she could keep them all together on a single salary. Though able to maintain this goal for at least a year, it became untenable and her siblings were later split among their relatives. It was the realization of a fear that Ida still carried in hearing how her parents were torn from their families while enslaved. Perhaps it was the combination of carrying these injustices in addition to the myriad daily aggressions she had to deal with as a Black woman living in the South in the 1880s that led her to physically resist being pulled out of a first class train car while commuting to work from Memphis. However, it is very clear that this particular incident led to her quick reaction the next time a conductor tried to forcibly remove her from the train car on the same route. This time she left the car and walked directly to a lawyer who helped her make the historic case of The Chesapeake, Ohio and Southwestern Railroad Company vs. Ida B. Wells. The judge ruled that the company should give her a $500 pay out on the basis that the segregated car they wanted to push her into was not equal to the service her ticket yielded. Sadly, that pay out never came as the railroad appealed to the Tennessee Supreme Court who later ruled in their favor, revoking the original ruling, instead naming her responsible for paying their $200 court fees. Read more here: https://blackgirlscreate.org/2021/01/...

  24. 4 out of 5

    S.

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This is an unconventional biography. It's not organized the way I expected, but it's okay to have an element of surprise.  The author is the great-granddaughter of Ida B. Wells. The book begins with an intro and a lovely chapter about what it was like growing up with such an important great-grandmother. Next, until about halfway through the book, it's like a regular biography (what I expected the entire book to be). Then there's a timeline... followed by a section on Ida B. Well's legacy, which at This is an unconventional biography. It's not organized the way I expected, but it's okay to have an element of surprise.  The author is the great-granddaughter of Ida B. Wells. The book begins with an intro and a lovely chapter about what it was like growing up with such an important great-grandmother. Next, until about halfway through the book, it's like a regular biography (what I expected the entire book to be). Then there's a timeline... followed by a section on Ida B. Well's legacy, which at first I thought was just a general section on Black history. However, it's a mixture of more recent history of black activists... and accounts of some of Ida B. Wells's activism. If you look at the front cover and flip through the book--seeing many illustrations, including original art in bright colors--you might think it's a children's book. But the typeface is small. It does have a lot of kerning. Maybe it's directed at teens, but even YA typically has a larger typeface. "In the 1880s, it was extremely rare for a Black woman to write about racial issues. Few women of any race went into journalism.  Less than five percent of journalists were women, out of those who worked for the almost two hundred Black-owned newspapers (p. 44)." "The prevailing narrative at the time [circa 1900] was that Black men were sexual predators who targeted white women and therefore deserved to die in a most brutal way. Other victims of lynching had been framed as dangers to the social order, specifically threatening to white people, or robbers. Horrific acts against Black people were normalized over time: torture, collecting their teeth and bones as souvenirs, or even burning them alive for the enjoyment of spectators (p. 109)." "By investigating the situation herself and chronicling personal accounts of what happened, Ida was taking control of the narrative. Instead of allowing white people to spin and skee reality to justify their annihilation of Black people, she documented the brutal truth about the violence being inflicted on the Black community. Her influence helped reduce retaliatory sentencing for a few Black people but did little to have white instigators punished... (p. 112)."

  25. 4 out of 5

    Book Reviews by Tara

    𝐈𝐝𝐚 𝐁. 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐐𝐮𝐞𝐞𝐧: 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐄𝐱𝐭𝐫𝐚𝐨𝐫𝐝𝐢𝐧𝐚𝐫𝐲 𝐋𝐢𝐟𝐞 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐋𝐞𝐠𝐚𝐜𝐲 𝐨𝐟 𝐈𝐝𝐚 𝐁. 𝐖𝐞𝐥𝐥𝐬 by Michelle Duster is a must read for everyone! ⠀ In this book Duster, the great grand-daughter of Ida B. Wells provides a personal view of the legendary woman who was dedicated to combating inequality, violence and injustice against African-Americans. ⠀ Also known as the Antilynching crusader, Ida B. Wells-Barnett was a journalist, educator, and early leader in the civil rights movement. As one of the founders of the National Assoc 𝐈𝐝𝐚 𝐁. 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐐𝐮𝐞𝐞𝐧: 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐄𝐱𝐭𝐫𝐚𝐨𝐫𝐝𝐢𝐧𝐚𝐫𝐲 𝐋𝐢𝐟𝐞 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐋𝐞𝐠𝐚𝐜𝐲 𝐨𝐟 𝐈𝐝𝐚 𝐁. 𝐖𝐞𝐥𝐥𝐬 by Michelle Duster is a must read for everyone! ⠀ In this book Duster, the great grand-daughter of Ida B. Wells provides a personal view of the legendary woman who was dedicated to combating inequality, violence and injustice against African-Americans. ⠀ Also known as the Antilynching crusader, Ida B. Wells-Barnett was a journalist, educator, and early leader in the civil rights movement. As one of the founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Ida B. was one of the most famous Black women in this country during her time. ⠀ Now I’m not going to lie, there were stories in this book that infuriated me! The injustices documented had me seeing red! Reading this book after witnessing the home grown terrorists that stormed Capitol Hill on January 6th allowed me to see that we are not far removed from what Ida B. fought against in the 1800-1900s. Mobs of white people invading territories as an act of intimidation has been used as a weapon throughout history. And as we can clearly see, history is repeating itself right before our very eyes. The release of this book could not have been at a better time. We must know and understand our history in order to prepare for our future. ⠀ Current day topics such as Black Lives Matter Movement, as well as The Trump Presidency are also discussed. ⠀ This is a very easy read. I didn’t find it boring like most books written about historical figures. Filled with copies of original documents, news papers articles and photographs, Duster does a phenomenal job of bringing Ida B. Wells to life. In this book I didn’t see Ida B. the legend, I saw Ida B. the woman. The story is personal. That’s what I like most about it. ⠀ It is my belief that this book should be required reading for high schools across the country. Ida B. Wells was a remarkable woman that deserves to known by all! The way she fought for equal rights for Black Americans was absolutely remarkable. ⠀ Thank you @atriabooks for gifting me this advance digital copy in exchange for an honest review.

  26. 5 out of 5

    K. Anderson

    It is with a heavy :(heart that I have to enter this review; but I cannot remove the nagging feeling from my mind that if the blatant and disappointing *ERROR on PG. 74* (unable to finish reading pass this pg.) of this book could be made, then is it possible that the 1st 73 pgs. have other errors unbeknownst to us, the readers... I even attempted to locate the Contact Information for the Editors @ONE SIGNAL PUBLISHERS - ATRIA to share with them the disappointment of their proofreading of this bo It is with a heavy :(heart that I have to enter this review; but I cannot remove the nagging feeling from my mind that if the blatant and disappointing *ERROR on PG. 74* (unable to finish reading pass this pg.) of this book could be made, then is it possible that the 1st 73 pgs. have other errors unbeknownst to us, the readers... I even attempted to locate the Contact Information for the Editors @ONE SIGNAL PUBLISHERS - ATRIA to share with them the disappointment of their proofreading of this book; because one would hope by now, in 2021, that folks would recall that our dear BRO. MALCOLM X was NOT ASSASSINATED on VALENTINE's DAY of 1965; and shame on them for allowing that ERROR to be PRINTED. It's insulting and unexcusable (*especially knowing his six Daughters are still alive, and very well might have read this book*), because it can be so easily fact-checked if the Staff Members were in doubt.. but it leads one to believe that since he was killed during *Black History Month*, no one will probably notice or even care.. wherein lies the problem. WE DO CARE! We do care about the FACTS IN PRINT! Bro. Malcolm and Sis. Betty DID have a TRAGIC Valentine's Day in 1965..their Home was firebombed in Queens, NY, NOT due to his Assassination, which, sadly, would come just several days later on FEB. 21, 1965. I, too, was excited to learn more about SIS. IDA from one of her Great-Grandchildren; and because of either the indifference or the negligence (one in the same at this point) of that *PG. 74 ERROR*, I could NOT help but wonder if Sis. Michelle's previous 73 pgs. contained errors (about one of the most courageous and amazing BLACK WOMAN) that cannot be so easily fact-checked.. FACTS IN PRINT are crucial for your readers.. particularly FACTS about our folks in our Indigenous, Black and Brown communities that have been so easily erased from history books throughout the generations. All FACTS in PRINT need to be accurate, but even more so when the PUBLICATION is about PEOPLE OF COLOR, and the PROOFREADING is being COMPLETED by the AUTHOR of color and their EDITORS. Thank you. Take care.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Betsy Robinson

    How does a Black female baby born in Mississippi in 1862 to enslaved parents as the Civil War roiled around them become a renowned journalist, teacher, and activist with the courage to stand up for what is right no matter what the obstacles? “Black people have often taken to ‘making a way out of no way,’ (125)” writes author Michelle Duster. This kind of courage and steadfast intelligence take my breath away. This history is important and I will not try to truncate any of it into a brief review How does a Black female baby born in Mississippi in 1862 to enslaved parents as the Civil War roiled around them become a renowned journalist, teacher, and activist with the courage to stand up for what is right no matter what the obstacles? “Black people have often taken to ‘making a way out of no way,’ (125)” writes author Michelle Duster. This kind of courage and steadfast intelligence take my breath away. This history is important and I will not try to truncate any of it into a brief review of this colorful book. Read it if you want to understand where we live today in the U.S. of A. Although this history of civil rights activist Ida B. Wells is credited to her great-grand-daughter, Michelle Duster, per the acknowledgments, the book is a team effort of publisher Julia Cheiffetz, writer Hannah Giorgis, photo editor Nicholas Ciani, and amazing illustrator Monica Ahanonu. It is a terrific compendium of not only Wells’s story but of so many people who have worked their butts off for equality. This is a wonderful text to add to any reader’s Black history education. My only complaint is that a huge part of the joy of this book is the striking illustrations of Black activists—colorful but stark portraits of so many luminaries in the civil rights movement—by artist Monica Ahanonu, whose name does not appear anywhere except in a line of the author’s acknowledgements. There is nothing about Ahanonu on the title page or in the front matter (that lists the interior designer), nor is there a credit on the Image Credits back-of-book page. I can only guess that this was a work-for-hire illustration job, but still . . . when artwork contributes as much of the feeling of a book as Ahanonu’s does, the reader shouldn’t have to search as hard as I did to find out who did it. Per her website: “Monica Ahanonu is a freelance illustrator working and living in Los Angeles. Many consider her an expert in color theory, vector illustration, and motion design.” So to stand up for what’s right in a very small way, I’m devoting my last paragraph to her.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Adamo #EmptyNestReader

    Ida B the Queen: The Extraordinary Life and Legacy of Ida B Wells is the amazing story of Ida B Wells. An activist born into slavery in 1862, Wells fought for an end to lynching and for racial and gender. A woman of boundless energy and determination, Wells pioneered the field of investigative journalism and used those skills to help readers understand that lynching could not be justified. She served as an editor of several newspapers and was one of the founders of the NAACP. Wells was posthumou Ida B the Queen: The Extraordinary Life and Legacy of Ida B Wells is the amazing story of Ida B Wells. An activist born into slavery in 1862, Wells fought for an end to lynching and for racial and gender. A woman of boundless energy and determination, Wells pioneered the field of investigative journalism and used those skills to help readers understand that lynching could not be justified. She served as an editor of several newspapers and was one of the founders of the NAACP. Wells was posthumously awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 2020. Championing people without power, Wells took her fight for justice across the United States and internationally while fighting her own personal battles with racism and sexism. She was once denied a passport because the FBI had labeled her as a “dangerous negro agitator” and was unable to attend the Paris Peace Conference at which she was scheduled to speak. Described as a “unique celebration of Wells’s life and of the Black experience” the book is authored by Wells’s great granddaughter, Michelle Duster. The information within the book is very interesting; however, the book is somewhat disorganized and not as well-written as it should be. Where was her editor? I read this book on audio. Unfortunately, it is read by the author who is not a skilled reader (there’s a reason writers hire professional voice actors to read their books!). Her emphasis on certain words made me felt like she was reading to a child. The book felt as if it should have been a Young Adult NonFiction. The subject matter is great. The writing, not so much. ⭐️⭐️⭐️ For more book reviews and recommendations follow me at #emptynestreader #instagram #facebook #Goodreads #IdaBtheQueen #MichelleDuster #SimonSchusterAudio #nonfiction #history #bookstagram #bookstagrammer #bookstagramalabama #bookstagrammichigan #bookreviews #bookreviewer #bookrecommendations #Februaryreads #readalittlelearnalittlelivealittle #Februaryreads #emptynestreaderaudiobooks🎧 #blackhistorymonth #ebooks #librarybooks #audiobooks #audible #vestaviahillslibrary #aadlgram

  29. 5 out of 5

    Robyn

    Who is the audience for this book? According to the publisher Simon & Schuster, this “biography” of Ida B. Wells is intended for adults. As an adult, I was drawn to this illustrated (Monica Ahanonu’s illustrations are absolutely gorgeous) and short (176 pages) biography with the subtitle “The Extraordinary Life and Legacy of Ida B. Wells”. I would use the term biography loosely here. Maybe describing this as a brief overview of Wells’ life combined with the author’s interpretation of how Wells’ w Who is the audience for this book? According to the publisher Simon & Schuster, this “biography” of Ida B. Wells is intended for adults. As an adult, I was drawn to this illustrated (Monica Ahanonu’s illustrations are absolutely gorgeous) and short (176 pages) biography with the subtitle “The Extraordinary Life and Legacy of Ida B. Wells”. I would use the term biography loosely here. Maybe describing this as a brief overview of Wells’ life combined with the author’s interpretation of how Wells’ work is reflected in contemporary movements. It was this arrangement that made it feel like it was designed for a younger audience. The book is arranged into seven parts beginning with “Who Was Ida B. Wells” and followed by “Who Ida Was to Me”. It felt a bit disorienting learning about some of Wells’ well-known accomplishments in the first chapter and then learning about her early life in chapter four. The book bounces around in history providing facts but few contextual details. The author, Michelle Duster, is Wells’ great grand-daughter and I believe Duster tried to flesh out Wells for example we learn Wells had a desire for fine clothes and even went into debt to obtain them, but more often Wells came across as a list of facts rather than the complex and determined woman Duster wanted us to see. Lastly, Duster’s perspective was always present leaving little room for the reader to make connections. I’d suggest picking this up mainly for Ahanounu’s illustrations and getting a quick introduction to Ida B. Wells.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Gail

    I remember first learning about Ida B. Wells in journalism school. I knew she was one of the most well known female journalists of the 20th century, but I didn’t know much beyond that. As Women's History Month draws to a close, I have to share how much I enjoyed reading “Ida B. Queen: The Extraordinary Life and Legacy of Ida B. Wells.” This book is filled with gorgeous illustrations and artifacts that tell a compelling story about the Black experience alongside the biography of an awe-inspiring I remember first learning about Ida B. Wells in journalism school. I knew she was one of the most well known female journalists of the 20th century, but I didn’t know much beyond that. As Women's History Month draws to a close, I have to share how much I enjoyed reading “Ida B. Queen: The Extraordinary Life and Legacy of Ida B. Wells.” This book is filled with gorgeous illustrations and artifacts that tell a compelling story about the Black experience alongside the biography of an awe-inspiring woman who was ahead of her time—as a journalist, as a publisher, as a suffragist, and as a civil rights activist. What makes this book all the more powerful is that these stories about Ida are compiled by her great-granddaughter, Michelle Duster. Ida’s investigative journalism brought to light the horrors of lynching in early 20th-century America. For years, she failed to garner the accolades and attention she deserved (when she died in 1931, the NYT didn’t even write an obit for her). So I’m glad that, today, her activism and her investigative work are being rediscovered and celebrated through landmarks, a posthumous Pulitzer (awarded in 2020), and creative works like this book. If you have someone in your life who’s passionate about women’s history and/or social justice issues, “Ida B. Queen” would make a great gift—it’s the kind of gorgeous book that begs for a home on someone’s coffee table. I hated returning my copy to the library when I was finished.

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