Cover image for Yours for justice, Ida B. Wells the daring life of crusading journalist
Yours for justice, Ida B. Wells the daring life of crusading journalist
1st ed.
Publication Information:
Atlanta : Peachtree Publishers, 2007.
Physical Description:
1 v. (unpaged) : ill. ; 31 cm.
Reading Level:
NC 950 L Lexile
Added Author:
Biography of Ida B. Wells-Barnett, a journalist and teacher who wrote about and spoke against the injustices suffered by African-Americans.


Material Type
Call Number
Item Available
Book J 921 WELLS 1 1
Book J 921 WELLS 1 1
Book J 921 WELLS 1 1

On Order



Journalist Ida B. Wells faces the greatest challenge of her life as a tireless crusader for justice and civil rights.
In 1863, when Ida B. Wells was not yet two years old, the Emancipation Proclamation freed her from the bond of slavery. Blessed with a strong will, an eager mind, and a deep belief in America's promise of ?freedom and justice for all,? young Ida held her family together, defied society's conventions, and used her position as a journalist to speak against injustice. But Ida's greatest challenge arose after one of her friends was lynched. How could one headstrong young woman help free America from the looming ?shadow of lawlessness?
Author Philip Dray tells the inspirational story of Ida B. Wells and her lifelong commitment to end injustice. Award-winning illustrator Stephen Alcorn's remarkable illustrations recreate the tensions that threatened to upend a nation while paying tribute to a courageous American hero.

Author Notes

Philip Dray was a Pulitzer Prize finalist and winner of the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Book Award for At The Hands of Persons Unknown: The Lynching of Black America. It was through his work on this book that he became acquainted with Ida B. Wells and her compelling story. He lives in New York. Yours for Justice, Ida B. Wells is his first book for children.

Stephen Alcorn has illustrated numerous books for young people, including Keep On! and Yours for Justice, Ida B. Wells. He lives in Virginia.

Reviews 5

Publisher's Weekly Review

Dray, a Pulitzer finalist for At the Hands of Persons Unknown: The Lynching of Black America, brings his expertise to a younger audience with this eloquent biography of anti-lynching crusader and journalist Ida B. Wells. A narrative peppered with anecdotes guides readers through defining moments of Wells's life, from her 1884 lawsuit against a railroad company whose Jim Crow policies prevented her, a black woman, from riding in the first-class compartment, to her growing career as a newspaper columnist, to the 1892 lynching of her close friend. Alcorn's (Let it Shine: Stories of Black Women Freedom Fighters) striking, symbol-infused hand-colored prints on creamy vellum get star billing. A large trim size accommodates the stylized illustrations, soaring vignettes in muted hues that portray a statuesque and self-assured Wells. Fluid lines swirl or jut across spreads, establishing a brisk visual pace. In one scene, a hand extended from a fancy sleeve labeled "Whites Only" pushes down an African-American man wearing overalls. In another, Wells the writer drifts from an ink bottle like a genie from a lamp, the spectral-shaped black ink forming her dress. Author notes, a timeline and more enhance this age-appropriate introduction to difficult issues and the woman who educated the world about them. Ages 8-12. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Horn Book Review

Fluid narration introduces readers to the nineteenth-century crusader who used her talents as a writer and lecturer to fight for justice for fellow African Americans. Quiet yet powerful prose details Wells's work, focusing mainly on education, segregation, voting rights, and the travesty of lynching. Flowing illustrations in muted tones further illuminate the subject. Reading list, timeline. Bib. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.

Booklist Review

Historian Dray introduces this civil rights crusader and journalist who campaigned tirelessly to end the practice of lynching. Born into slavery in Mississippi, Wells became a teacher at the age of 16 in order to support her orphaned siblings. Later, she began writing and speaking out against Jim Crow laws. Dray focuses on Wells' childhood and early life, ending with the lynching of her friend Tom Moss and her subsequent move to New York City in 1892. Alcorn's ink-and-watercolor illustrations have a fluid quality, conveying both action within the story and movement from one scene to the next. The use of warm colors and fanciful elements helps to mute the harsh realities of lynching and segregation while still maintaining a respectful tone. Appended with notes on Wells' later life, a time line, and a bibliography, this makes a good choice for middle-grade readers studying the early period of the civil rights movement. For slightly older readers, suggest Anne Schraff's Ida B. Wells-Barnett (2008).--Weisman, Kay Copyright 2008 Booklist

School Library Journal Review

Gr 1-5-An excellent picture-book biography. Although Wells is well known for her efforts to end the horrific practice of lynching, here defined as "execution outside the law," the text maintains a child-appropriate approach. Wells's anger and frustration are expressed but the crimes are not described. Background notes go into more detail and outline the journalist's advocacy work for equal rights for blacks and women. Alcorn's outstanding illustrations give readers a sense of the woman. She is depicted as well dressed and elegant, an image borne out by the photographs at the end of the book. Flat, watercolor-tinted drawings of expressionistic scenes sometimes float, sometimes sprawl, across the pages in a boldly flowing manner. The perspective is constantly shifting, even among the elements on a single page. While most of the human figures are rounded, white people who are abusing blacks are shown as caricatured shapes full of sharp lines and angles. Sometimes a large white hand pushes down a black person, again emphasizing a lack of humanity. A noose is incorporated into one illustration but there are no pictures of people being hanged. Alcorn's inventive, imaginative artwork softens the violence without minimizing it. Through words and pictures, the book conveys the story of a woman who exhibited admirable fortitude and bravery.-Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst, St. Christopher's School, Richmond, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Review

The author of an adult study of the history of lynching addresses a younger audience in this stirring tribute to an African-American journalist who, more than any other single figure, is associated with bringing the despicable practice to an end. Born a slave, Wells grew up to be a dedicated reformer who took on a number of social injustices in the course of a long career. Dray retraces the biographical high spots, then closes with a photo-enhanced look at her later achievements and a capsule history of lynching. Adding strong notes of reverence to the narrative, Alcorn's big cubist paintings center on Wells, who is often seen floating gracefully, surrounded by people with downcast eyes and tilted heads, fluttering pages of print and scales or other symbols. Capped by a well-chosen list of additional resources at several levels, this handsomely packaged introduction to one of the most important progenitors of the Civil Rights Movement is just the ticket for young readers not yet ready to tackle the Fradins' definitive profile. (Picture book/biography. 7-9) Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.