the light of truth:
Ida B. Wells National Monument
BRONZE AND GRANITE
37TH ST AND S LANGLEY AVE, CHICAGO, IL
Richard Hunt’s The Light of Truth, installed on the South Side of Chicago, in the Bronzeville neighborhood, is a 35ft tall bronze and granite monument dedicated to Ida B. Wells. Situated near the former site of the Ida B. Wells Homes public housing complex, and only a block away from where Wells-Barnett spent her life, this piece is an homage to the intrepid, prolific and now iconic Black journalist and publisher, as well as a powerful site for community gatherings.
Throughout her life, Wells-Barnett worked fiercely and tirelessly to advance civil rights for Black Americans; to seek justice for Black men who had been lynched by racist white mobs and authority figures in the South; and she relentlessly pushed for women's right to vote. Ida B. Wells started dozens of organizations to help African-Americans gain economic and political power in Chicago and across the country. Hunt's abstract art centerpiece honors her legacy providing viewers with a space for reflection on Wells-Barnett’s life and writings.
An abstract figure of shining, light bronze standing on three columns, the monument is a twisting, open, torch-like configuration over levitating stair steps, featuring an etched image of Wells-Barnett as well as some of her famous quotes. Standing under it gives a sense of its stature: the average person comes up to about a third of the height of the base.