The efforts of family members, journalists and activists to honor Ida B. Wells’ legacy on Chicago’s South Side paid off this week. The Chicago Tribune reported yesterday (July 17) that a crowdfunding campaign reached its goal of $300,000 to build a monument to the late journalist and racial justice activist.
The initiative gained momentum on Monday (July 16), as Wells’ name trended on Twitter in remembrance of her 156th birthday. The Tribune credited grassroots organizer Mariame Kaba and journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones with hosting fundraisers and generating support through social media. Wells’ great-granddaughter and campaign leader Michelle Duster told The Tribune that more than 900 people contributed to 86 percent of the $300,000 budget. She added that three undisclosed organizations committed the remaining 14 percent.
“There has been such an outpouring of support from the public,” Duster told The Tribune. “I knew people appreciated her, but I didn’t know that the support for this project, which will only be in Chicago, would come from all over the country.”
Sculptor Richard Hunt will design and construct the monument, which Duster and other campaign organizers intend to install in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood. The memorial will stand near Wells’ home and the site of a former housing project that the city named for her.
Per Duster, work will begin on the monument this fall to be finished in 2019.