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On April 6 2006, the Women and Public Policy Program hosted "A Celebration of Ida B. Well: Crusader for Truth and Justice,” which featured the unveiling and installation of a portrait of Wells. It is the first commissioned oil portrait at the school. The Women and Public Policy Program, the Kennedy School, and the Massachusetts’ chapter of the NAACP celebrated this momentous occasion with a community gathering in the JFK, Jr. Forum in honor of Ida B. Wells’s life and legacy. Wells’ remaining grandchildren were in attendance, including Troy Duster, Professor of Sociology, New York University.
The portrait hangs in the Fainsod Room in the Kennedy School’s Littauer Building next to that of Winston Churchill.
Ida B. Wells (1862-1931; after marriage, Ida B. Wells-Barnett) began as a schoolteacher, and then became a journalist and lecturer, organizing against lynching across the United States and in Great Britain. She protested the treatment of African Americans at the Chicago World’s Fair with Frederick Douglass. She fought alongside W.E.B. DuBois in the “Committee of 40” that gave rise to the NAACP and with Jane Addams to prevent segregation of the Chicago schools. She campaigned for women’s rights with Susan B. Anthony, founding the first Black women’s suffrage organization in Chicago and fighting racism within the suffrage movement. Wells saw clearly the wrongs of racial and gender inequality and stood up against those wrongs.
Reproductions of the Ida B. Wells portrait may be purchased by contacting Professor Jane Mansbridge, Adams Professor of Political Leadership and Democratic Values, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Notecards $10 for a set of 10
Postcards $0.60 each
These items are also available at Harvard University's Fogg Art Museum, 32 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA or at the Women and Public Policy Program, Taubman Building, Kennedy School of Government.
Potrait of Ida B. Wells currently hanging in the Fainsod room of the Harvard Kennedy School.
“We are called a school of government, but we are a school for public actors far more generally. Whether from the U.S. or abroad, students from the Kennedy School are leaders throughout the public realm. We wanted to express that strength through the choice of leaders in our portraits as well as in our classrooms.”
-Jane Mansbridge, Adams Professor of Political Leadership and Democratic Values, HKS