Mia Bay is a professor of history at the University of Pennsylvania and the author of The White Image in the Black Mind: African-American Ideas About White People 1830-1925 (2000) and To Tell the Truth Freely: The Life of Ida B. Wells (2009). She is a coauthor, with Waldo E. Martin and Deborah Gray White, of Freedom on My Mind: A History of African Americans, With Documents (2012). Her most recent book is on the social history of segregated transportation titled Traveling Black: A Story of Race and Resistance (2021). Prior to joining the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania, she taught and directed the Center for Race and Ethnicity at Rutgers University.
A discussion of the early life and thought of black journalist Ida B. Wells (also known as Iola), this lecture examines the origins of her political ideas as they emerged within the context of the racial and sexual politics of the New South. Tracing her career up through the beginnings of her anti-lynching campaign in the 1890s, it argues that Wells’ pioneering crusade against racial violence was shaped in in distinctive ways by her gender and her personal experiences.