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Ida B. Wells Biographer to Deliver Leon Forrest Lecture

Ida B. Wells, the Mississippi-born anti-lynching activist and crusader for justice, women's rights and racial equality, will be the subject of the 2009 Leon Forrest Lecture.

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February 16, 2009 | by Matt Paolelli
EVANSTON, Ill. --- Ida B. Wells, the Mississippi-born anti-lynching activist and crusader for justice, women's rights and racial equality, will be the subject of the 2009 Leon Forrest Lecture Thursday, March 5, at Northwestern University.

Paula Giddings, author of "Ida: A Sword Among Lions" (Harper Collins, 2008), will deliver the annual lecture honoring Forrest, the acclaimed novelist and scholar who taught at Northwestern for more than two decades. Giddings' long-awaited biography of Wells was 20 years in the making.

Giddings' lecture, "Ida B. Wells and the Beginning of the Modern Civil Rights Movement," will take place at 5 p.m. in McCormick Tribune Center Forum, 1870 Campus Drive, Evanston. It is free and open to the public.

Giddings also wrote a landmark study on the political and social history of African American women titled "When and Where I Enter: The Impact of Black Women on Race and Sex in America" (William Morrow & Co., 1984).

Called "a labor of commitment and love" and "jarringly fresh interpretation" by The New York Times and "the best interpretation of black women and race and sex that we have" by the Women's Review of Books, "When and Where I Enter" traces the activist history of black women in America, including Wells.

Giddings, professor of Afro-American Studies at Smith College, has been a judge for the National Book Awards; a member of the Council of the Author's Guild of America; a member of the Governor's Advisory Committee on Black Affairs in New York State; and a board member of the writers group P.E.N.

A graduate of Howard University, she worked for Random House before becoming an editor at Howard University Press. A former journalist, she has written for The New York Times, Washington Post, Philadelphia Inquirer, The Nation and other publications. She also has taught at Spelman College, Princeton University, Duke University and Rutgers University.

Giddings also is the author of "In Search of Sisterhood: Delta Sigma Theta and the Challenge of the Black Sorority Movement (William Morrow & Co., 1988). She is the editor of "Burning All Illusions," an anthology of articles on race published by The Nation from 1867 to 2000.

For further information about the Leon Forrest Lecture sponsored by the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, call (847) 491-5122 or visit www.wcas.northwestern.edu.