On the Wings of Change, by Diosa (Jasmina Cazacu), was commissioned by the Chicago Womxn's Suffrage Tribute Committee to celebrate Chicago-area women suffragists and women's political progress since the passage of the 19th Amendment. It features ten suffrage leaders to capture the multi-racial and multi-generational reality of the movement. Installed in October 2021, the work is on the south wall of 33 E. Ida B. Wells Drive, less than one block north of Speak Up! and Votes for Women in Chicago's South Loop.
Speak Up! was commissioned by the Chicago Womxn's Suffrage Tribute Committee as a sister mural to On the Wings of Change and companion to Votes for Women. Created by Dorian Sylvain, the work celebrates the achievement of Kamala Harris, the first woman and person of color to become Vice President of the United States exactly 100 years after women gained the right to vote. It features her words "I'm Speaking" to capture the ongoing challenge women face in being heard. Installed in July 2023, the work is located on the south wall of 623 S. Wabash in Chicago's South Loop.
Votes for Women was commissioned by the Chicago Womxn's Suffrage Tribute Committee as a sister mural to On the Wings of Change and companion to Speak Up! It was created by AB Productions and features the phrase and yellow rose symbol of the suffrage movement. Installed in July 2023, the work is located on the south wall of 623 S. Wabash in Chicago's South Loop.
Michelle consulted on the development of the Ida B. Wells doll in addition to the visuals and text on the packaging. The doll is part of Mattel's Barbie Inspiring Women Series and was launched in January 2022. (Image provided by Mattel)
Initiated by the League of Women Voters with support from Michelle, over 60 organizations, and Alderpersons Sophia King (4th ward) and Brendan Reilly (37th ward), the 6-lane street of Congress Parkway was changed to Ida B. Wells Drive on July 25, 2018. It is the first major E/W street in downtown Chicago to be named after any woman or any person of color. It feeds into both I94 and I290 interstates. The signs were unveiled at a February 11, 2019 ceremony. Click here to read more
Michelle worked with the Ida B. Wells Commemorative Art Committee from 2008 to develop a monument in honor of Ida B. Wells at 37th & Langley, on the land where the Ida B. Wells Homes stood from 1941-2002. It was created by world-renowned sculptor Richard Hunt and dedicated on June 30, 2021 Click here to read more
Watch dedication ceremony here (84 mins)
Michelle worked with Alderperson Sophia King (4th ward) to have 37th Street from King Drive - Vincennes bear the honorary street name of Ida B. Wells Way. It is located 1/2 block away from the 3624 S. King Drive home where Wells lived from 1919 - 1930 and three blocks from the Ida B. Wells National Monument. It was unveiled on July 20, 2019.
Michelle worked with Alderperson King's office to create an historical marker to be placed at 37th & Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in Chicago to honor both the housing community that was originally named after Ida B. Wells in addition to her life and legacy. Michelle wrote the text and artwork was created by David Anthony Geary. The dedication ceremony took place on July 20, 2019. Click here to read more. Four years later, Michelle approached the newly elected Alderman Robinson about upgrading the marker to include a garden. With the help of ProSocial Chicago, volunteers and community members, that became a reality on October 7, 2023. Click here for story.
The Ida B. Wells-Barnett Museum in Ida's hometown of Holly Springs, MS initiated the idea of creating a marker to honor the parents of Ida B. Wells. Michelle wrote the text for this piece that is located in Hillcrest Cemetery and installed in July 2011.
Commissioned by the Memphis Suffrage Monument Committee chaired by Paula Casey, the monument was created by sculptor Alan LeQuire. It features 13 Memphis-based leaders, including Ida B. Wells. Michelle co-wrote the text for the Ida B. Wells panel. It is located on the river side of the University of Memphis Law School. The dedication ceremony was on March 27, 2022.
In the late 1980s, trailblazing filmmaker, William Greaves produced the first documentary film about Wells titled Ida B. Wells: A Passion for Justice for PBS' American Experience series. Michelle worked on the film in Chicago, Memphis, and New York City as a researcher and tech assistant. Click here to learn about the film.