Ida fights segregation on the railroad


Ida fights segregation on the railroad


Memphis was rebuilding when Ida B. Wells arrived in the 1880s. After the yellow fever epidemic, the city levied a tax to build drainage systems & fight mosquitoes. The city fathers were white, but a growing Black population garnered some power: school board seats, police hires.

Accomplished Black women in town were resisting segregation. Jane Brown sued and won after a Memphis railroad made her change cars. Julia Hooks refused to move from her seat in a downtown theatre: she was thrown out, jailed, and fined. (Image of RR car interior c. 1880.)

@ExploreWellcome Ida surely knew about these heroic women when she refused to give up the first class “ladies car” seat she had bought on a Memphis-bound train in 1883. When the conductor grabbed her to haul her off the train, she bit his hand.

Whites stood on their seats to watch, and applauded when she was taken off the train. #IdaBWells sued for violation of the Tennessee “separate but equal” railway policy, as there was no Black 1st class ladies car. She won. She was 21 years old.


Daily Suffragist




-1- Daily Suffragist on Twitter- -Memphis was rebuilding when Ida B- Wells arrived in the 1880s- After the yellow fever epidemic- the city levied a tax to build drainage systems -amp- fight mosquitoes- The city fathers were white- but a gro.png


Daily Suffragist, “Ida fights segregation on the railroad,” Daily Suffragist, accessed July 12, 2024,

Output Formats