40 Ida B. Wells Quotes on Racism And Feminism

Ida Bell Wells-Barnett was an American investigative journalist, educator, and activist. She was a key figure in the women’s suffrage and civil rights movements. Here are the best Ida B. Wells quotes on journalism, feminism, racism, and justice from the trailblazer who dedicated her life to exposing the brutal realities of lynching and racial violence.

As a journalist, she is best known for her activism against lynching in America. She investigated and documented lynching in articles and through her works such as Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in all its Phases and The Red Record.

Her promising work as a journalist and feminist earned her the nickname ”Princess of the Press” when she was elected Secretary of the Colored Press Association.

Ida Wells’s work challenged racial and gender stereotypes and exposed the truth of America’s horrific history of lynching. Her dedication to the truth has inspired millions of black women to flourish in the field of journalism.

Wells commitment to combating prejudice and injustice, together with her tireless efforts in the fight for justice and equality left a lasting legacy. Her work serves as an inspiration for generations of activists to continue the fight for civil rights and social justice.

In honor of the lady, we have compiled the most famous Ida B. Wells quotes to inspire you to stand against oppression and fight for a more just and equitable society.

Top 10 Ida B. Wells Quotes

  1. “Virtue knows no color line.” — Ida B. Wells
  2. “Lynching is color line murder.” — Ida B. Wells

    Ida B. Wells Quotes
    Ida B. Wells Quotes
  3. “The appetite grows for what it feeds on.” — Ida B. Wells    

    Quotes From Ida B. Wells
    Quotes From Ida B. Wells
  4. “Those who commit the murders write the reports.” — Ida B. Wells              

    Ida B. Wells Famous Quotes
    Ida B. Wells Famous Quotes
  5. “The way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth upon them.” — Ida B. Wells 

    Quotes By Ida B. Wells
    Quotes By Ida B. Wells
  6. “One had better die fighting against injustice than die like a dog or a rat in a trap.” — Ida B. Wells 

    Ida B Wells Quotes
    Ida B Wells Quotes
  7. “There must always be a remedy for wrong and injustice if we only know how to find it.” — Ida B. Wells

    Best Ida B Wells Quotes
    Best Ida B Wells Quotes
  8. “The white man’s dollar is his God, and to stop this will be to stop outrages in many localities.” — Ida B. Wells
  9. “Treat the world well. It was not given to you by your parents, but lent to you by your children.” — Ida B. Wells
  10. “The people must know before they can act, and there is no educator to compare with the press.” — Ida B. Wells

Best Ida B. Wells Quotes

  1. “The colored race multiplies like the locusts of Egypt.” — Ida B. Wells
  2. “The Afro-American is thus the backbone of the South.” — Ida B. Wells
  3. “There is nothing we can do about the lynching now, as we are out-numbered and without arms.” — Ida B. Wells
  4. “The only times an Afro-American who was assaulted got away has been when he had a gun and used it in self-defense.” — Ida B. Wells
  5. “During the slave regime, the Southern white man owned the Negro body and soul. It was to his interest to dwarf the soul and preserve the body.” — Ida B. Wells
  6. “I honestly believe I am the only woman in the United States who ever traveled throughout the country with a nursing baby to make political speeches.” — Ida B. Wells
  7. “The nineteenth century lynching mob cuts off ears, toes, and fingers, strips off flesh, and distributes portions of the body as souvenirs among the crowd.” — Ida B. Wells
  8. “Our country’s national crime is lynching. It is not the creature of an hour, the sudden outburst of uncontrolled fury, or the unspeakable brutality of an insane mob.” — Ida B. Wells
  9. “I am only a mouthpiece through which to tell the story of lynching and I have told it so often that I know it by heart. I do not have to embellish; it makes its own way.” — Ida B. Wells
  10. “If this work can… arouse the conscience of the American people to demand justice to every citizen, and punishment by law for the lawless, I shall feel I have done my race a service.” — Ida B. Wells

Famous Quotes From Ida B. Wells 

  1. “The mob spirit has grown with the increasing intelligence of the Afro-American.” — Ida B. Wells
  2. “The South is brutalized to a degree not realized by its own inhabitants, and the very foundation of government, law and order, are imperilled.” — Ida B. Wells
  3. “Brave men do not gather by thousands to torture and murder a single individual, so gagged and bound he cannot make even feeble resistance or defense.” — Ida B. Wells
  4. “What becomes a crime deserving capital punishment when the tables are turned is a matter of small moment when the negro woman is the accusing party.” — Ida B. Wells
  5. “The city of Memphis has demonstrated that neither character nor standing avails the Negro if he dares to protect himself against the white man or become his rival.” — Ida B. Wells
  6. “The negro has suffered far more from the commission of this crime against the women of his race by white men than the white race has ever suffered through his crimes.” — Ida B. Wells
  7. “The government which had made the Negro a citizen found itself unable to protect him. It gave him the right to vote, but denied him the protection which should have maintained that right.” — Ida B. Wells
  8. “The alleged menace of universal suffrage having been avoided by the absolute suppression of the negro vote, the spirit of mob murder should have been satisfied and the butchery of negroes should have ceased.” — Ida B. Wells

Ida B. Wells Quotes On Racism

  1. “The Afro-American is not a bestial race.” — Ida B. Wells
  2. “A Winchester rifle should have a place of honor in every black home.” — Ida B. Wells
  3. “The appeal to the white man’s pocket has ever been more effectual than all the appeals ever made to his conscience.” — Ida B. Wells
  4. “Somebody must show that the Afro-American race is more sinned against than sinning, and it seems to have fallen upon me to do so.” — Ida B. Wells
  5. “The doors of churches, hotels, concert halls and reading rooms are alike closed against the Negro as a man, but every place is open to him as a servant.” — Ida B. Wells
  6. “It is extremely rough to follow through with my goals, but I felt a responsibility to show the world what the African Americans are facing through this rough patch.” — Ida B. Wells
  7. “I came home every Friday afternoon, riding the six miles on the back of a big mule. I spent Saturday and Sunday washing and ironing and cooking for the children and went back to my country school on Sunday afternoon.” — Ida B. Wells
  8. “Although lynchings have steadily increased in number and barbarity during the last twenty years, there has been no single effort put forth by the many moral and philanthropic forces of the country to put a stop to this wholesale slaughter.” — Ida B. Wells

More Ida B. Wells Quotes

  1. “The white man’s victory soon became complete by fraud, violence, intimidation and murder.” — Ida B. Wells
  2. “The South resented giving the Afro-American his freedom, the ballot box and the Civil Rights Law.” — Ida B. Wells
  3. “In slave times the Negro was kept subservient and submissive by the frequency and severity of the scourging, but, with freedom, a new system of intimidation came into vogue; the Negro was not only whipped and scourged; he was killed.” — Ida B. Wells
  4. “I felt that one had better die fighting against injustice than to die like a dog or rat in a trap. I had already determined to sell my life as dearly as possible if attacked. I felt if I could take one lyncher with me, this would even up the score a little bit.” — Ida B. Wells
  5. “In fact, for all kinds of offenses – and, for no offenses – from murders to misdemeanors, men and women are put to death without judge or jury; so that, although the political excuse was no longer necessary, the wholesale murder of human beings went on just the same.” — Ida B. Wells

More About Ida B. Wells’ Life & Work

Wells was born into slavery on July 16, 1862, in Holly Springs, Mississippi, just a few months before the Emancipation Proclamation.

Ida B. Wells was a black female journalist who faced sexism, racism, and bigotry, and succeeded them all to change the society for the better. She was one of the foremost crusaders against black oppression.

In response to her activism, she faced strong resistance from a group of white men who destroyed her newspaper office in Memphis for her courageous efforts.

In addition to her anti-lynching activism, Wells also fought for women’s right to vote. She was an active participant in the women’s suffrage movement, despite facing racial equality issues within the movement.

Ida Wells was the founder of Alpha Suffrage Club and co-founder of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and she continued her advocacy for the rights of African Americans and women.

To know more about the life of this incredibly courageous and outspoken black woman who fought against all odds, read her autobiography: Crusade for Justice: The Autobiography of Ida B. Wells.


Hopefully, you will enjoy reading the above Ida B. Wells quotes from her speeches, books, and reports.

Also, check out our collection of Frederick Douglass quotes and Audre Lorde quotes on life, slavery, education, and freedom that will inspire you to stand for what is right.

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