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If you are not 18, please exit stage left. While there is normally nothing naughty here, I do write and review erotica so there are links to spicy stuff and the occasional heated excerpt.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Chicago from A to Z...I is for Ida B. Wells...J is for the Jewelers Building

Happy Hump Day!! I can't believe it is Wednesday already. Today I'm here with another Daily Double as I attempt to get myself back on track in the Big A To Z. I'm going to delve a bit more into Chicago history as I give you my selections for I and J. Ida B. Wells is one of my favorite women in history and one of Chicago's finest. The Jewelers Building is a terrific place with an intriguing past.
Ida B. Wells Wikimedia

I Is For Ida B. Wells

Ida is one hell of a woman and a true badass to me. She was a journalist, a suffragette, a sociologist and an early leader in the Civil Rights Movement. Born in Holly Springs, MS to enslaved parents, Ida adored her father James, who after the Emancipation Proclamation, worked tirelessly for the advancement of black people. When her parents and youngest brother died during a yellow fever epidemic, 16 year Ida became a teacher so that she could keep her remaining five siblings with her.

Spurred by the inequality in salary between white and black teachers, Ida moved to Memphis, TN where she attended Fisk College during her summer breaks and became more active politically. She co-owned the anti-segregationist paper Free Speech and Headlight where she wrote articles and edited the paper's content. In 1892, three of Ida's friends were lynched. Their murders prompted her to investigate lynchings across the South and she wrote a pamphlet entitled "Southern Horrors: Lynch Laws In All Its Phases." Threatened, Ida bought a pistol and used her journalistic abilities to encourage blacks to leave Memphis.

Ida moved to Chicago and helped to organize a boycott of the World's Fair. She started working for the Chicago Conservator, the oldest black run paper in the city. During this time she met and married the paper's owner, Ferdinand Barnett. Ida became one of the first women to keep her own name in addition to taking her husband's. Her passion for women's issues led her to found the National Association of Colored women as well as the National Afro-American Council. She also helped to found the NAACP. Her work in Chicago for urban reform, suffrage and civil rights continued until her death.
Jewelers Building Wikimedia

J Is For The Jewelers Building

35 East E. Wacker aka The Jewelers Building is a Chicago historic landmark. Featured in the 2005 film Batman Begins and as the scene of a huge battle between Decepticons and Autobots in 2011's Transformers: Dark of the Moon, this building has seen a lot since its construction in 1927. The first 23 floors featured a car lift  and parking so the jewelers could come and go in safety.

There have been many famous tenants, including Mercury Records, which occupied several floors from 1953 to 1973. The most infamous would be Al Capone, who had a speakeasy in the dome at the very top. This same place then served as the showroom for architect Helmut Jahn. There is a current reconfiguration of the interior going on which sadly has removed many of the cool features like the car lift, but progress will out.

I hope you found Ida as cool I did. We can visit her house if you come to Chitown and we'll also take a spin by the Jeweler's Building. Thank you so much for stopping by. Happy A to Z, please visit my fellow challengers by clicking at the top right or here.


  1. I wonder how many request Capone's spot?
    Ida accomplished a lot, not just as a woman, but as a person. She was also very beautiful.

  2. Hey, Sweets! It's been ages... Nice to see you back on track and catching up!

    Enjoyed reading all your posts! Lots of things about Chicago I didm't know too much about,

  3. Can you imagine three of your friends lynched? That would be horrifying.

  4. Ida is a bad-a$$, who contributed an amazing legacy! That building is super cool--would love to tour the tippy top and grab a drink:)

    Echoes of Olympus
    A to Z #TeamDamyanti

  5. What an impressive person Ida was. It's a beautiful photo of her. I'm glad you brought her to my attention.

  6. She accomplished so much for so many people. It's wonderful that you featured her Melissa. You're still on the A -Z track!

  7. Speaking of early last century in Chicago, Dreiser's SISTER CARRIE always reminds me of your city

  8. Ita was an incredible woman. "Badass" is the right word for her, for sure!

  9. I'm with Trisha - badass is definitely the word for Ida!

  10. Chicago is so rich in history, culture, art and all things both good and bad. Awesome post!


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