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How one journalist risked her life to hold murderers accountable - Christina Greer

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In the late 1800’s, lynchings were happening all over the American South, often without any investigation or consequences for the murderers. A young journalist set out to expose the truth about these killings. Her reports shocked the nation, launched her journalism career and a lifelong pursuit of civil rights. Christina Greer details the life of Ida B. Wells and her tireless struggle for justice.

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TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Christina Greer
  • Director Anna Nowakowska
  • Narrator Christina Greer
  • Producer The Animation Workshop
  • Music Matthias Runge
  • Content Producer Gerta Xhelo
  • Editorial Producer Alex Rosenthal
  • Associate Producer Bethany Cutmore-Scott
  • Associate Editorial Producer Elizabeth Cox
  • Script Editor Alex Gendler
  • Fact-checker Joseph Isaac
Additional Resources for you to Explore

1) The horrors of lynching particularly in the U.S. south was a weapon used by whites to evoke fear in Black residents and business owners. In many ways, lynchings were so widespread and so well known, that police and those sworn to protect communities were complicit in letting white mods terrorize Black citizens.

If you research the writings of Ida B Wells, she passionately wrote about injustices surrounding Blacks in America. She wrote, “Somebody must show that the Afro-American race is more sinned against than sinning.” Wells writings were so important because they exposed an epidemic in America and changed the way individuals understood the root causes of lynching in Black communities.
If a modern day Ida B Wells existed, what do you think her primary agenda would be? Lynching is no longer a tool used by white mobs to maintain racial and economic superiority. However, what other systems, institutions, and practices are currently being used to maintain racial and economic order?



2) Many people do not pay attention to history, politics, or what is going on with people outside of their own communities, because they don’t necessarily believe what has happened or what is happening to someone from a different group has much to do with their own lives.

Over the past few decades, race relations in America have gotten better. Although lynching is not as prevalent as it once was, there are still much more work to be done to provide racial and economic equality. Why do you think so many mobs wanted to keep Blacks from incorporating into society? Why was it that voting suppression, destroying businesses, and even murder were a tactic for white mobs against Black communities? What else could Ida B Wells and her colleagues have done to curtail the terrors of lynching during her lifetime?



Was Wells expected to do too much as a woman and a Black person during the time period in which she lived? Have a conversation with someone of a different race, gender, or age. What has been their experience living in the U.S.? What were the experiences of their parents or grandparents? Have your relatives ever heard of Ida B Wells? Do they know about the history of lynching in America?

Imagine you were Ida B Wells. What would you change about racial and gender discrimination? How would you ensure that Black Americans and women were given equal treatment for generations to come?

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About TED-Ed Animations

TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Christina Greer
  • Director Anna Nowakowska
  • Narrator Christina Greer
  • Producer The Animation Workshop
  • Music Matthias Runge
  • Content Producer Gerta Xhelo
  • Editorial Producer Alex Rosenthal
  • Associate Producer Bethany Cutmore-Scott
  • Associate Editorial Producer Elizabeth Cox
  • Script Editor Alex Gendler
  • Fact-checker Joseph Isaac