CHICAGO – Pioneering journalist Ida B. Wells is now inspiring a new generation of activists.
Wells was an investigative journalist who actively reported on lynchings and violence against African-Americans for which she was posthumously awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 2020.
By time she was 25, Wells became editor and co-owner of The Memphis Free Speech, a local black newspaper in Memphis.
Wells was also an early leader in the Civil Rights movement and co-founded the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1909.
She marched in Washington, DC for womens voting rights and helped found the Alpha Suffrage Club in Chicago which became the largest Black women’s suffrage organization in Illinois.
Wells also raised four children after marrying Ferdinand Barnett, a Chicago lawyer and newspaper editor.
Last month, the Mattel toy company released the Ida B. Wells Barbie as part of their “Inspiring Women Series”.
The collection honors courageous women who paved the way for generations of girls to dream bigger.
WGN News Now spoke to Wells’ great-granddaughter and great-grandson to find out what the honor means to them. Michelle Duster, an author and public historian and Dan Duster, a financial advisor and motivational speaker helped design the doll in their great-grandmother’s likeness.
The collectible Barbie wears a traditional blue dress with lace details, and holds a Memphis Free Speech newspaper.
The Dusters say they were honored Mattel reached out to them for their input on the project. They had a say on the features of the doll, the body shape, the dress and even the newspaper she is holding.
The Ida B. Wells Barbie costs $35 and comes with a Certificate of Authenticity, plus a doll stand. You can find the collectible doll in stores and online.