Portrait of civil rights icon Ida B. Wells unveiled in Brooklyn, NYC

BROOKLYN (WABC) – A new portrait was unveiled in Brooklyn in honor of the late civil rights icon and journalist Ida B. Wells.

Mayor front runner Eric Adams joined members of the Wells family for the unveiling at Brooklyn Borough Hall on Friday morning.

Wells was a pioneering black activist and journalist who fought to end racial segregation and documented the horrors of lynching.

“My great-grandmother, Ida B. Wells, was an amazing woman who overcame her fear of rightness, even if it meant giving her life on those sacred walls,” said Joshua Duster.

Wells, who was born a slave in Mississippi in 1862, was a 30-year-old newspaper editor in Memphis, Tennessee when she began her campaign against lynching. The Wells Crusade was sparked by the lynching in 1892 of a man whose first child was their godchild. She traveled the south for several months interviewing witnesses and reading reports of similar events, which she published in The Memphis Free Speech and Headlight newspaper, which she jointly owned and edited.

Wells was posthumously awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 2020 for her coverage of African American lynching.

Despite frequent threats because of her work, she helped found several civil rights organizations, including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the National Association of Colored Women.

Wells died of kidney disease on March 25, 1931, at the age of 68.

Her portrait was commissioned by Jacob K. Morris and created by the artist Charles Hearn.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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