Thursday, November 10, 2011

Monument Being Created in Bronzeville to Honor the Historic Woman Ida B. Wells

From the Ida B Wells Commemorative Art Committee:

(November 10, 2011, Chicago, IL) The Ida B. Wells Commemorative Art Committee is pleased to announce the development of a monument to honor the life and times of the historic Ida B. Wells - journalist, teacher, anti-lynching crusader, women's rights activist and civil rights pioneer. To celebrate the upcoming 150th anniversary of Ms. Wells' birth, July 16, 2012, world-renowned artist Richard Hunt, who is Chicago based, will create a monument which will be located in Bronzeville on the median strip on 37th & Langley. Once completed, the monument will be donated by the committee to the City of Chicago's Public Art Collection.

Ida B. Wells lived, worked and raised a family in the Bronzeville neighborhood of Chicago from 1895 - 1931. A housing project was named after her and stood in the neighborhood for over 60 years. In 2002 the last buildings were torn down.

A group of residents from the community requested that something be created in the neighborhood to pay tribute to all of the work that Ida B. Wells did. Former Ida B. Wells resident, CHA Commissioner and Committee Co-Chair, Sandra Young said "Ms. Ida B. Wells did so much important work for this city and the world, fighting for justice and equal housing, that we all felt the need to make sure people didn't forget about her. With this monument, current and future generations can come to Bronzeville and learn about the great things that this strong woman did."

The commissioning entity for this important monument is the Ida B. Wells Commemorative Art Committee. It is a subcommittee of the Oakwood Shores Working Group, a committee designated by the Chicago Housing Authority to oversee and provide input in planning, developing and maintaining the mixed-income community replacing the Ida B. Wells public housing development. For many years, the Oakwood Shores Working Group has helped to address a wide range of topics related to the complex work of transforming the community, including relocation and return of former residents, development, lease-up and management of the new housing, services and programs for residents and community-building. The Art Committee was constituted for the purpose of creating a monument to honor Ida B. Wells.

The Commemorative Art Committee is composed of representatives of former Ida B. Wells public housing resident leadership, UJIMA, Inc., the office of Fourth Ward Alderman Will Burns, The Habitat Company, Chicago Housing Authority, North Kenwood-Oakland Conservation Community Council, the Oakwood Shores Development Team (The Community Builders and Granite Development Corporation), Business and Professional People for the Public Interest (BPI), City of Chicago Department of Housing and Economic Development, the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events in partnership with the Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture, and Ida B. Wells' family members.

Author and Committee Co-Chair, Michelle Duster, said "As a great-granddaughter of Ida B. Wells, I am the fourth generation of my family to live in Chicago. It is an amazing testament to this city that there is support to build a piece of public artwork to honor her legacy. Through her unrelenting focus to expose and stop injustice, she made an impact on the world. It should fill every resident of this city with pride to know that Ida B. Wells lived here."

For more details, please call 773-382-6115, email or visit

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