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A quilt depicting Ida B. Wells in a red dress on a red, yellow, and brown background.

Ida B. Wells (1862-1931)

Born into slavery in Holly Springs, Mississippi, Ida B. Wells and her family gained their freedom following the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863. She began working in education and journalism after attending university, publishing under the pen name “Iola” to protect her identity. As a journalist, Wells covered topics including segregation, mob violence, racial injustice and lynching in the United States. Wells was also a tireless advocate for women’s suffrage and co-founded the National Association for Colored Women. Reflecting on her life, Ida B. Wells once said that it is “Better to die fighting against injustice than to die like a dog or a rat in a trap.”

Art by Dorothy Burge

This quilt was designed by Dorothy Burge and machine quilted by Judy Wolff.

Dorothy Burge is a quiltavist, a person who does quilting and activism together. She is a fabric and multimedia artist and community activist who is inspired by history and current issues of social justice. Burge’s ancestors created beautiful quilts from recycled clothing. Her realization that the history and culture of her people were being passed in the form of quilt art inspired her to use this medium as a tool to teach history, raise cultural awareness, and inspire action.