Today is Ida B. Wells' 153rd Birthday. Ida Wells (July 16, 1862 - March 25, 1931) was an African-American journalist, newspaper editor, suffragist, sociologist and activist. After documenting lynchings throughout America, she determined they were often used to eliminate blacks who competed in white communities rather than as a punishment for crimes. Wells also established several notable woman's organizations.
On May 4, 1884, a train conductor ask her to give up her seat and move to a smoking car. After she was forcibly removed from her seat for refusing to move to a "colored car" on the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad, she sued the railroad for violating her civil rights. She won her case on December 24, 1884, when the local circuit court granted her a settlement of $500. However, the case was then taken to the Tennessee Supreme Court where it was rejected in 1887. Events and legal struggles like these continued to encourage her to oppose racial injustice toward African-Americans. She died of uremia (kidney failure) in 1931, at the age of 68.