Last week was Ida B. Wells' 150th birthday. To recognize the occasion, the Ida B. Wells Commemorative Art Committee hosted a reception in Bronzeville, IL to honor her and pitch for donations for a monument to be designed by Chicago sculptor Richard Hunt. A monument is a great idea, but here's the catch:
The 20-foot granite and bronze piece will be installed at 37th and Langley, the site of the old Ida B. Wells Homes, the public housing development erected a decade after her death.
Say what? As Bakari Kitwana put it on Twitter...
monument to Ida B. Wells to replace Ida B. Wells housing projects originally meant to commemorate her work: suntimes.com/news/washingto…
— Bakari Kitwana (@therealbakari) July 25, 2012
The Ida B. Wells housing projects were torn down several years ago to make room for a mixed-income community called Oakwood Shores. Something tells me that Wells, a woman who dedicated her life to social justice, would prefer the old memorial that people lived in to the new one made out of granite.
Further reading: A fitting honor for civil-rights activist Ida B. Wells-Barnett by Laura Washington [Chicago Sun-Times]