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Author Michelle Duster to discuss Ida B. Wells biography at Simpson College

Great-granddaughter of Ida B. Wells to host virtual discussion of latest book in Black History Month event


Simpson College announced today that Michelle Duster, author, professor, public historian and advocate for her great-grandmother Ida B. Wells, will host a virtual discussion on her latest book “Ida B. The Queen: The Extraordinary Life and Legacy of Ida B. Wells” on Thursday, Feb. 25 at 7 p.m.

The Black History Month Event is free and open to the public. Pre-registration for the Zoom Webinar is required. To reserve your spot, visit simpson.zoom.us.

Cover art for "Ida B. The Queen: The Extraordinary Life and Legacy of Ida B. Wells."

Duster shares the life and legacy of her great-grandmother in “Ida B. the Queen,” highlighting Wells’ pioneering work as a journalist, anti-lynching crusader and suffragist through a contemporary lens. Duster brings to light how Wells changed the course of history and inspired millions.

“What I hope people get from the book is how the past is connected to the present,” Duster said. “I made a deliberate effort to connect the historical dots, to show that what my great-grandmother was doing is continued through this day, but that she was also influenced by what came before her. So, we’re all connected in this American story. I hope that people see themselves in her and can be inspired by her bravery, her courage and her focus and determination.”

An award-winning author, Duster has written, edited or contributed to 16 books. She has written articles for Time magazine, Essence magazine and HuffPost and appeared on television programs on MSNBC, CNN and CBS as well as numerous radio shows. Her advocacy has led to street names, monuments, historical marks and other public history projects that highlight women and African Americans, including Wells.

“We are pleased to have Michelle Duster share with us the story of her great-grandmother,” said Walter Lain, assistant dean of multicultural and international affairs. “Ida B. Wells was a journalist and civil rights leader who forged a way for others to follow. Over 100 years later, we can follow her efforts given today’s equality and social justice issues.”

Duster is a native of Chicago who earned her bachelor’s in psychology from Dartmouth College and master’s from The New School in New York City. She completed a master of fine arts degree in film and video production at Columbia College Chicago. Her many awards include the 2019 Multi-Generational Activist Award from the Illinois Human Rights Commission and the 2019 Martin Luther King Jr. Social Justice Award from Dartmouth College. 

“The Culver Public Policy Center is honored to co-host this Black History Month event focusing on the towering legacy of Ida B. Wells, a leading force in the fight for women’s suffrage and equal rights for all Americans,” said Seth Andersen, director of the Culver Center. “This is a magnificent opportunity for Simpson students to learn about Wells’ impact on American society from her great-granddaughter, historian Michelle Duster.”

The event is co-sponsored by Simpson College's Office of Multicultural and International Affairs, the Culver Public Policy Center, Black Student Union, Multicultural Student Alliance, Student Justice Association, Social Justice Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies.

About Simpson College
Simpson College is a private, liberal arts college located in Iowa with campuses in Indianola, West Des Moines and online. Founded in 1860, the college has 1,268 undergraduate and graduate students. Simpson offers 74 majors, minors and programs in addition to three graduate programs. Outside of the classroom, Simpson is a member of the NCAA Division III American Rivers Conference, hosts eight Greek houses on campus and sponsors many extracurricular options for student involvement.
Contact Information
Cathy Cole, Vice President for Marketing and Strategic Communication
Direct: 515-961-1595
Email: cathy.cole@simpson.edu