The Power of the Vote – 100 Years After the Alpha Suffrage Club

On Wednesday, February 13, 2013, the Ida B. Wells Commemorative Art Committee, the Chicago Area Women’s History Council  and the Black Law Students Association Chapter  at The John Marshall Law School joined together to sponsor a stimulating program:

The Power of the Vote – 100 Years After the Alpha Suffrage Club
The Enduring Legacy of Ida B. Wells

The Honorable Sheila Simon, Lieutenant Governor of the State of Illinois, was the featured speaker.  She stirred the audience with her remarks, both honoring the hard times of the past and recognizing the continuing struggle for social justice, equality and civil rights that is the legacy of Ida B. Wells.

Laura Washington, columnist with the Chicago Sun-Times and political analyst for ABC 7, Chicago’s ABC-owned station, served as moderator for the program and engaged a distinguished panel of presenters in a lively discussion of the dilution of voting rights, women’s work issues, immigrant struggles and the  violence that is plaguing Chicago and the Nation today.  Sharing their intimate stories, ideas, inspirations and reflections, were:

Karina Zabicki DeHayes, President of the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois
Jan Dorner, President of the League of Women Voters of Illinois
Ashley Moy-Wooten, Sr. Organizer with the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and
Refugee Rights
Andrea S. Kramer, President of the Women’s Leadership and Mentoring Alliance
Sharon Strickland Williams, Past President of the Cook County Bar Association

Mary Ann Johnson, President of the Chicago Area Women’s History Council, gave insights into an important project her organization is developing in celebration of women’s activism. (Notably, Ida B. Wells was included in a previous book project titled “Women Building Chicago.”). Ms. Johnson also told of the women suffragists march on Washington in 1913 where Ida B. Wells one again, took action that showed her strength, courage and determination in the face of adversity.

Approximately 80 people attended the event that was graciously hosted by the John Marshall Law School.  It was a relaxed gathering with light refreshments and much interaction.  The event generated a lot of interest, enthusiasm and support for the creation of the Ida B. Wells monument.  Over $5,000 was raised through registrations and donations for the event.

Richard Hunt Gave Presentation About Monument In Midst of His Work at McCormick Gallery

The Ida B. Wells Commemorative Art Committee (IBWCAC) co-hosted an elegant cocktail reception with the McCormick Gallery, located at 835 W. Washington on Thursday, July 26, 2012. A retrospective of Hunt’s work from the 1950s – 1970s that was showcased at the gallery through August 11, 2012.  At the reception, Richard Hunt stood in the midst of 20 years of his work and explained to several dozen city business, civic, education and community leaders how he’s going to capture the life and times of Ida B. Wells into a 20-foot monument that will feature three sections.  Wells, who was born in Holly Springs, MS as a slave in 1862 became an influential journalist, teacher, anti-lynching crusader, women’s rights activist and civil rights pioneer. Each section of the abstract and interpretive monument will capture a different focus of Wells’ work and include images, biographical text and excerpts of her writing.  The monument will be installed on the median strip at 37th & Langley, a short walk from the home where Wells and her family lived on 3624 S. King Drive.

“I remember when the Ida B. Wells Homes were a huge source of pride in the community.   It was a beautiful place to live with a park like setting, with kids playing and what not,” said Hunt.  “I have to be sensitive to the history of the neighborhood, and also capture the strength and determination of Ida B. Wells to fight for the rights we all enjoy today.”

Remarks were also given by gallery owner Tom McCormick, IBWCAC Co-Chairs, Michelle Duster and Sandra Young and IBWCAC members Joseph Williams and Jessica Caffrey.

With this project, Chicago will join the very few U.S. cities that honor through monumental sculpture an African-American woman.   Once installed, the monument will be donated by IBWCAC to the City of Chicago’s Public Art Collection.  Business and Professional People for the Public Interest (BPI) is acting as the fiscal sponsor for this project.  All donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.

Photo Credit:  Ellen Prather

Committee with Richard Hunt (L-R) – Michelle Duster, Julie Elena Brown, Sandra Young, Joseph Williams, Virginia Harding, Anthony Rogers, Richard Hunt, Shirley J. Newsome,
Lee Pratter, Jessica Caffrey

Richard Hunt and Tom McCormick (owner of McCormick Gallery)

IBWCAC Recognize 150th Birthday of Ida B. Wells with Informal Reception


150th Birthday of Ida B. Wells Recognized With a Reception
in Her Bronzeville Neighborhood
Near the Site of the Future Monument to be Created in her Honor

(World-Renowned Sculptor Richard Hunt, Featured Guest)

 

(July 20, 2012 – Chicago, IL) On Monday, July 16, 2012, The Ida B. Wells Commemorative Art Committee (IBWCAC) hosted an informal reception to celebrate the 150thbirthday of Ida B. Wells. She was born a slave in Holly Springs, MS on July 16, 1862 and became an influential journalist, teacher, anti-lynching crusader, women’s rights activist and civil rights pioneer. The Committee has commissioned world-renowned sculptor and Chicago native, Richard Hunt, to create a monument that will capture the life, times and work of Ida B. Wells. Wells lived, worked and raised a family in the Bronzeville neighborhood for over 30 years from 1894 until she passed on March 25, 1931.

The reception was held at the beautiful Oakwood Terrace Senior Building, 3750 S. Cottage Grove, in newly developed Oakwood Shores on the former site of the Ida B. Wells homes. There was an assortment of cheese, meat and fruit along with lemonade and birthday cake for the guests.

Mr. Hunt talked about how he was influenced by the Bronzeville neighborhood while growing up including taking advantage of opportunities at the Abraham Lincoln Center. He gave an overview of his vision for the 20-foot monument that will include three different sections that will focus on different concentrations of work Ida B. Wells was involved in. Over 80 business, civic and political leaders, as well as local residents and interested supporters enjoyed updates and a tour of the site at 37th& Langley where the monument will be installed. The site is a short walk from the house Wells and her husband, Ferdinand L. Barnett, lived in on 3624 S. King Drive which has a landmark status.

Fourth Ward Alderman William D. Burns gave remarks where he explained how Ida B. Wells tried to build bridges between the middle class and the more working class people in the Bronzeville neighborhood. He stressed how she led the example of how to treat our neighbors as ourselves. CHA Commissioner Sandra Young, who also lived in the Ida B. Wells homes, mentioned that even though the homes are no longer there, the great work that Ida B. Wells did should be remembered. Jessica Caffrey, Financial Secretary for IBWCAC said that the estimated cost of the monument is $300,000 and so far almost $50,000 has been raised.

With this project, Chicago will join the very few U.S. cities that honor through monumental sculpture an African-American woman. Once installed, the monument will be donated by IBWCAC to the City of Chicago’s Public Art Collection.

IBWCAC 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, and Ida B. Wells’ family members.

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March 7th Fundraiser

March 7th Fundraiser to Benefit Ida B. Wells Monument Featured World-Renowned Artist Richard Hunt

The Ida B. Wells Commemorative Art Committee (IBWCAC) and The Cliff Dwellers of Chicago co-hosted a fundraiser on Wednesday, March 7, 2012 to benefit the development of a monument to honor the life and accomplishments of the historic Ida B. Wells – journalist, teacher, anti-lynching crusader, women’s rights activist and civil rights pioneer. World-renowned artist Richard Hunt, who is Chicago based, was commissioned by the IBWCAC to create the monument.

Mr. Hunt was featured at the March 7th cocktail reception, which took place at The Cliff Dwellers Club located at 200 S. Michigan Avenue. He gave an overview of his vision for the historic monument which will be interpretive and educational. It will be located in the Bronzeville neighborhood where Ida B. Wells lived, worked and raised a family from 1895 – 1931. Mary Mitchell, columnist for The Chicago Sun- Times was the emcee for the program which included Toni Preckwinkle, Cook County Board President; Michelle T. Boone, Commissioner of the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events; Donald G. Evans, Executive Director of the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame; Leslie Recht, President of The Cliff Dwellers Club, and IBWCAC Co-Chairs Sandra Young, Commissioner of Chicago Housing Authority and Michelle Duster, Author / Speaker and Great-granddaughter of Ida B. Wells.

Approximately 75 people, which included members of the Ida B. Wells family, prominent attorneys, business executives, educators and local politicians, attended the event. Guests enjoyed the panoramic view of the city’s skyline while partaking in a wide variety of delicious appetizers prepared by Chef Victor Perez. Soothing music was performed by pianists Jerry Brown and Arnold Lanza. The event was underwritten in part by the Lloyd A. Fry Foundation. Over $10,000 was raised toward the overall goal of $300,000 needed to complete the project.

With this project, Chicago will join the very few U.S. cities that honor through monumental sculpture an African-American woman. Once installed on the median strip on 37th & Langley, the monument will be donated by IBWCAC to the City of Chicago’s Public Art Collection.

IBWCAC 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 and Ida B. Wells’ family members.

To learn more about the project please call 773-382-6115. All donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law. Business and Professional People for the Public Interest (BPI) is a 501(c)(3) organization and is the current fiscal sponsor for this project.

Reception Committee 
Julie Elena Brown – IBWCAC
Michelle Duster – IBWCAC
Donald G. Evans – Executive Director, Chicago Literary Hall of Fame
Graham C. Grady, Esq.
Virginia M. Harding – Attorney & Treasurer of The Cliff Dwellers
Ann McKenzie – IBWCAC
Eve Moran – Attorney
Anthony Rogers – IBWCAC
Don Santelli – Manager, The Cliff Dwellers

Photography by Andre E. King