From August 24-29, 2020, the Commission sponsored a 1,000-square-foot mosaic of the iconic suffragist and civil rights leader, Ida B. Wells, in the Main Hall of Washington, D.C.’s Union Station. The mosaic, titled Our Story: Portraits of Change, was assembled from prints of thousands of historical photographs of suffragists, with each image telling its own story about the fight for women's right to vote. With her leadership in the fight for suffrage and civil rights, Ida B. Wells is the perfect example of a trailblazer who worked tirelessly in pursuit of full justice and equality. The Commission was proud to honor her legacy and celebrate the thousands of women who fought for the right to vote with Our Story: Portraits of Change.
The artwork was created by artist Helen Marshall of the People’s Picture and produced by Christina Korp of Purpose Entertainment. As the starting location of the suffrage "Prison Special" tour, Union Station played an important role in the American suffrage movement. In February 1919, suffragists who had been jailed for picketing the White House boarded a chartered train, the "Democracy Limited," and visited cities across the country to speak about their experiences as political prisoners. The Our Story project made local and national headlines and sparked a critical conversation about the women of history who fought for our democracy. Along with visitors to Union Station, Snapchat's over 46 million users across the United States also had the opportunity to experience the mosaic on August 26 with the Commission’s suffrage centennial lens, which allowed Snapchatters to add selfies to a digital mosaic inspired by the Our Story artwork. An online, interactive version of Our Story: Portraits of Change allows visitors to continue experiencing the mosaic and discovering the history at www.ourstory100.com. More than 50,000 people across the country and around the world have explored the mosaic through this online portal.
About Ida b. Wells
(1862-1931) Educator, journalist, suffragist, and anti-lynching activist Ida B. Wells fought fearlessly for her beliefs. Through her ground-breaking journalism, Wells brought attention to the lynchings of Black people in America, and she fought for civil rights throughout her life. In 1913, Wells founded the Alpha Suffrage Club to organize women of color in Chicago. That same year, Wells marched in the Washington, D.C. suffrage parade, which was racially segregated. Wells famously refused to march in the back of the procession and instead marched with the Illinois delegation. She challenged white suffrage leaders to fight for the rights of all women. Wells’ extraordinary life and activism still resonates today.