After more than a decade in the making, Chicago’s monument to civil rights activist Ida B. Wells is finally here. “The Light of Truth Ida B. Wells National Monument,” by renowned sculptor Richard Hunt, has three bronze columns supporting an intertwined shape at the top that resembles a flame.
Wells’ great-granddaughter Michelle Duster, her father, and two uncles (Wells’ grandsons) started pushing for a monument dedicated to the journalist and anti-lynching activist back in 2008, after learning that a Bronzeville public housing complex named for Wells would be torn down.
They joined a city committee that had already approached Hunt to create a monument at the site of the homes – 37th and Langley. Duster writes that the goal from the beginning was for the monument to be “commanding, abstract, and modern that would capture the multi-faceted aspect of Ida B. Wells.” The project faced significant funding hurdles, but Duster credits journalists like the New York Times’ Nikole Hannah-Jones for bringing more attention to the effort.
Wells recently has been honored in other ways nationally and in Chicago. The city renamed Congress Parkway to Ida B. Wells Drive in 2019, and Wells received a posthumous Pulitzer Prize in 2020.
But to Wells’ great-granddaughter, Duster, the monument in Bronzeville is a place where people can gather with others “to reflect on the life and work of my great-grandmother, but also to center themselves and realize the power they have within.” [Twitter; WBEZ]
👉 What you can do: Visit the Light of Truth Ida B. Wells National Monument.
⛅We’re starting the week hot! hot! hot! But mid-week we’ll start to cool off with highs in the 70s and 80s.
—Carrie Shepherd, @cshepherd (in for Sidney Madden, @sidney_madden_)