Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Michelle Duster  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Non-Fiction

Audience: Adult;

Born: in Chicago, Illinois

-- Website --
-- Michelle Duster on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Born and raised in Chicago, Michelle attended Columbia College in Chicago.

Biographical and Professional Information

Michelle Duster, great-granddaughter of Ida B. Wells, is a writer, speaker, and personal historian who focuses on the positive contributions of African Americans.In her effort to preserve the legacy of her great-grandmother, Michelle is involved in several projects named after Ida B. Wells including a scholarship fund at Rust College (Ida’s alma mater) and a museum in Holly Springs, Mississippi. She is also a member of a commemorative art committee in Chicago, which is developing a substantial piece of artwork that will be located in the Bronzeville neighborhood. The multi-dimensional piece will capture the life and times of her great-grandmother.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Ida In Her Own Words: The Timeless Writings of Ida B. Wells from 1893
ISBN: 0980239818

Benjamin Williams Publishing. 2008

African Americans were deliberately and systematically eliminated from participating in the preparation and exhibition of the Columbian Exposition (World's Fair) of 1893. The fact that an entire group of people who had been free citizens for almost thirty years, and who had made important contributions to the development of the nation were not given representation at such a significant international forum, provoked a protest. A small group of four people contributed to a pamphlet entitled The Reason Why the Colored American is not in the Worlds Columbian Exposition. Thousands of pamphlets were distributed. Class Legislation, attributed to Ida B. Wells, and Lynch Law, written by Ida B. Wells, were two sections included in the pamphlet. The pieces give a glimpse for today's readers to understand the cruelty and hypocrisy of the country at that time. Ida B. Wells' grandson, Troy Duster, and great-granddaughter, Michelle Duster, add historical perspective and insight into how much things have changed or not when it comes to the African American experience in the United States of America.

Ida From Abroad
ISBN: 0980239893

Benjamin Williams Publishing. 2010

After the office of the Memphis Free Speech newspaper was destroyed and a price put on her head, Ida B. Wells became an exile from Memphis, Tennessee in 1892. She went to New York City where she wrote and started speaking to large groups of people about the brutal realities of lynching. She subsequently spent several weeks in the United Kingdom during 1893 speaking about these realities. In 1894, Ida B. Wells returned to England where she continued to speak about the lawlessness in the United States. Her column, "Ida B. Wells Abroad," for the The Daily Inter Ocean newspaper and some personal correspondence provide a vivid picture of the challenges, triumphs, alliances and obstacles that Ida B. Wells encountered in her efforts to elicit support from the British to impact change in the United States. Michelle Duster, great-granddaughter of Ida B. Wells, compares her life experiences to those of her great-grandmother to highlight the challenges and progress of African American women born a century apart. Troy Duster, Ph.D., grandson of Ida B. Wells, adds historical background to the reason why global pressure was solicited in order to address the wide-spread oppression and terrorism faced by African Americans at the turn of the 20th century. Ida B. Wells (1862 - 1931) was born a slave in Holly Springs, Mississippi, but through a series of circumstances ended up traveling across the country as well as to Europe to expose the injustices against African Americans that were raging through the South. She was a journalist, teacher, anti-lynching crusader, women's rights activist, civil rights pioneer and one of the founders of the NAACP at the turn of the 20th century.

Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability (Yes)

Contact Michelle through her email address at