Google celebrated the birthday of Ida Bell Wells-Barnett, an African-American journalist and leader in the Civil Rights Movement at the turn of the 20th century, with a Google Doodle on its homepage.


Wells, who was born under slavery in Holly Springs, Miss., in 1862, would have been 153 today. She’s known for having refused to give up her seat on a train operated by the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad Company in 1884 at age 22 — 70 years before Rosa Parks did.

Wells was a strong civil rights activist and journalist who dedicated her whole life to fight against injustice. At 25, she became editor of the Free Speech and Headlight newspaper, based in Memphis, Tenn. She went on to run the Chicago Conservator.

In a statement on Google’s blog, the company called Wells “fearless and uncompromising” and payed tribute to her opposition to segregation. They noted that “her fiery and impassioned rhetoric” was spread “all over the world.” Google said they wanted to “commemorate her journalistic mettle and her unequivocal commitment to the advancement of civil liberties.”

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