Last week at the Harold Washington Cultural Center in Bronzeville, Michelle Duster, great-granddaughter of legendary author, journalist, and abolitionist Ida B. Wells, told a packed audience about how four generations of her family have worked to keep her legacy alive. Duster’s grandmother spent years editing Wells’s autobiography, which was first published in 1970. Duster’s parents’ generation established a memorial foundation in Wells’s name for aspiring journalists. Her cousin wrote a play about Wells. And Duster, an author and professor of writing at Columbia College, has edited two books of Wells’ original writing and worked with journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones and activist Mariame Kaba to raise around $200,000 for a monument to Wells.
In his art gallery, which inhabits a small brick house at 64th and Dorchester, originally purchased by his grandfather in 1946, artist William Hill, a co-curator of the Experimental Station showcase “Environmental Concerns,” explained the project’s concept.