Journalist and anti-lynching activist Ida B. Wells-Barnett was born in Holly Springs, Mississippi six months before President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. She was raised in the Methodist Episcopal Church, and her father was on the Board of Directors of local MEC-affiliated Shaw College (now Rust College) which Ms. Wells attended until the death of her parents during the yellow fever epidemic forced her to work as a teacher to support her brothers and sisters. Teaching in a segregated school system, she earned $30 a month while white teachers were paid $80.
She and two younger siblings moved to Memphis in 1883, where she joined the AME church and often taught children's Sunday school. She began to write for African American newspapers, becoming a co-owner and editor of an anti-segregation newspaper, the Free Speech and Headlight. She spoke out against the lynching of three friends and urged black Memphis residents of leave town, saying, "There is, therefore, only one thing left to do; save our money and leave a town which will neither protect our lives and property, nor give us a fair trial in the courts, but takes us out and murder us in cold blood when accused by white persons."
The newspaper offices were destroyed by a white mob in 1892, and she relocated to Chicago where she published a pamphlet entitled "Southern Horrows: Lynch Law in All Its Phases" that was widely circulated at the World's Columbian Exposition in 1893. She spoke regularly in Europe against lynching and found that audiences there were more easily convinced of the reality of the situation than those in the United States. Another booklet on lynching, "Red Record", was published in 1895 which included vivid descriptions of two lynchings and perhaps the first compilation of lynching statistics.
A free download of "Red Record" is available at Project Gutenberg http://www.gutenberg.org/files/14977/14977-h/14977-h.htm
Read more about Ida B. Wells here http://gildedage.lib.niu.edu/wellsbio