Overlooked: : How Women Like Ida B. Wells & Diane Arbus Were Omitted From The NYT Obituaries


“Somebody must show that the Afro-American race is more sinned against than sinning, and it seems to have fallen upon me to do so.”

— Muckraking journalist Ida B. Wells

Democracy Now! (3/9/18)

As the world marked International Women’s Day on Wednesday, The New York Times began a new project highlighting the lives of remarkable women who never had an obituary in the paper, until now. The list might surprise you. It includes the pioneering anti-lynching journalist Ida B. Wells; the writer and poet Sylvia Plath; Qiu Jin, who was known as China’s Joan of Arc; the groundbreaking photographer Diane Arbus; the woman who helped engineer the Brooklyn Bridge, Emily Warren Roebling; Charlotte Brontë, who wrote “Jane Eyre”; Henrietta Lacks, whose cells led to a medical revolution; and Ada Lovelace, who is considered to be the world’s first computer programmer.

The New York Times is calling the project “Overlooked,” and it is part of an effort to make up for the paper’s 167-year history of focusing largely on men—mostly white men—in the obituary pages. For more, we speak with Amy Padnani, digital editor of obituaries at The New York Times, who came up with the idea of “Overlooked.”

Link to Story, Transcript and 9-Minute Video