Wells began her career as a journalist in Memphis in the 1880s. There she tirelessly devoted her attention to segregation, women’s rights and suffrage, and launched an anti-lynching campaign. She moved to Chicago in 1895 when she married lawyer and publisher Ferdinand L. Barnett.
Throughout her life she traveled internationally, lecturing on lynchings and social injustices in the United States. Here in Chicago, she continued her activism and would go on to work for Chicago’s Daily Inter Ocean and the Chicago Conservator.
Many of her writings can be found in materials here at the library:
The Wells-Barnett Bronzeville home at 36th Street and Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive is also recognized as a National Historic Landmark.