Ida B. Wells comes alive on stage during Women’s History Month

Posted by on March 8, 2013 in 60-Second History Lesson | 3 comments

TIdaBWellshe life of Ida B. Wells (1862 – 1931), activist and suffragist, will be presented in a multi-media performance by Safiya Bandele during Women’s History Month: Sunday, March 24, 2013, 4 p.m. at Brooklyn’s Restoration Plaza Community Room, 1368 Fulton St., Brooklyn, NY 11216. Ticket includes play, meal, beverage and dessert. The event is presented by the International African Arts Festival (IAAF) and Brothers Who Cook. Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 at the door. The multi-media production is created and performed by Bandele. The performance is also available for schools, community groups, fundraisers, and other special events.

Ida B. Wells was a journalist, educator, wife, mother, suffragist, and internationalist –best known for her anti-lynching work. At the age of 22 she refused to move to a “colored car” on the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad and was forcibly thrown off the train. Her subsequent lawsuit launched her autobiography Crusade for Justice. Using Wells’ statement “I am an anomaly to myself and others,” Safiya Bandele presents the life of this fierce, uncompromising woman as a model for women activists and as an inspiration for all women.

In a one-hour multi-media event, Bandele presents the following themes in Wells’ life: gender defiance, critical resistance, community organizing, and internationalism. Bandele talks, chants, dances against a visual backdrop of southern horrors/lynching and the haunting music of “Strange Fruit.” Her presentation includes an arresting interpretation of the feelings of the trees on which the lynched bodies, the “strange fruit” – were hung. Also examined are Wells’ friendships and conflicts with notable historical figures – Fredrick Douglas, Mary McLeod Bethune, and Susan B. Anthony.

safiyaSafiya Bandele resides in Brooklyn, New York. She recently retired after a 34-year career at Medgar Evers College of the City University of New York where she served as instructor, Women’s Advocate and Director of the Center for Women’s Development.

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3 Comments

  1. I will not miss this performance dedicated to Ida B. Wells for nothing. I live in New York and I can definitely get to Brooklyn without a problem. We need to support more these performances to educate the youth and as well as the adults. I remember reading a short story about Ida B. Wells on a magazine in the past and I was really moved by her courage and conviction, but unfortunately I did not continue up on learning about her after that. This will be a good opportunity for me to learn more about her and to pay tribute to a great woman.

  2. This post prompted me to write about a recent case in China where a woman, through the power of social media, won the right to divorce on the grounds of abuse. Many will know that most things are censored in China, and it is nearly impossible to get a divorce. It is almost unheard of for a woman to speak out about family matters, and so a taboo was broken by one very brave woman, despite any consequences which may arise. I think back to the Tiananmen Square massacre in the 80′s and it is no wonder why people are so afraid of what the government will do to suppress freedom of expression. This lady Ida Wells and this recent case about Kim Lee shows it can be done if we persevere and continue to fight for what is right and fair.

  3. Gosh! This post really moved me. I hadn’t heard of Ida Wells until I read your post and it really has made me stop and think about what women and indeed minority people had to ‘put up ‘ with back then. It’s so sad about her family and how she lost her parents and sibling due to yellow Fever, yet she still fought on, even after so many set backs. Your post has really made me appreciate just how far we have come in respect of equality, although we still have further to go.
    Thank you for inspiring me and helping me appreciate such important pieces of history.
    Marjorie

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