Lynching in America, Ida B. Wells

Awakening a Nation

Ida B. Wells, at the turn of the twentieth century was a prominent figure who confronted lynching. In 1892, Ida B. Wells published Southern Horrors, an in-depth challenge to white Americans’ understanding of the crime of lynching that would transform the national dialogue on race. While Wells was not the first prominent African American activist to speak out, or the one best liked by the national press, she was nevertheless among the most influential race reformers of her day. Comparing Wells’ methods and public reception to other prominent figures, including Thomas Fortune, Booker T. Washington, and W.E.B. Du Bois, suggests that her approach had a significant impact. She was both passionate, and statistically-oriented. As well as confrontational and ironic, committed and gifted at getting and keeping the public’s attention. She awakened the nation’s conscience and revolutionized the way many saw the rights of African Americans. Her approach, a confrontational one, challenged that of Washington, and eventually won out. Along with Du Bois, Wells helped to form the NAACP, a reform organization that demanded the rights of citizenship for African Americans.

I will be discussing two different styles of approaches for anti-lynching campaigns. There is a very content driven style, as well as a style that challenges the reader and confronts the issue. I have chosen to compare Wells’ to Thomas Fortune for a couple of reasons. I feel as if it shows the distinct difference in the approaches to the public about lynching. Thomas Fortune is very aggressive in his style but at times will lack the content that Ida B. Wells is able to bring her audience with her pamphlets. I will also be comparing Ida B. Wells to Booker T. Washington. Booker T. Washington was very informative but lacked the fiery style of Thomas Fortune. Finally I will be comparing Ida B. Wells to W.E.B. Du Bois. They were very much alike in my opinion, regarding to the balance for content as well as their ability to confront the people in their speeches and writings from the research that I have gathered.

I will be looking at Thomas Fortune first, and his style. Fortune was born a slave in 1856 in Florida. He encountered savage racism at an early age, because of the racism his family moved to Delaware. He later attended Howard University, an all-black school in Washington, D.C. After a quick trip to Florida he founded the New York globe.[1]

Published in the New York Times in 1892 was a speech given by Thomas Fortune with the headline Fortune Stirred Them Up courtesy of the New York Times. It read as follows,

“We urge organization; we urge agitation; we urge prosecution; but we also advise our brethren to protect to the extent of their ability; their defenseless fellows charged with crimes against the lynchers and midnight murderers, who are always brutal outlaws. It be known that endurance has a limit and that patience may cease to be a virtue. (Mr. Fortune yells out to the crowd) what are we going to do about it? “Fight, Fight” was the word being yelled”[2].

Fortune’s apparent instruction to the crowd to fight for freedoms is a very good example of how he more confronting the issues of Anti-Lynching rather than bring up several articles or statistical information. The Way fortune takes care of his work is the way he gains notariaty in the Anti-Lynching movements. The New York Times are giving him a hard time after the speech. “He spoke intemperately and waved him arms wildly”[3]. His newspaper quoted him as that he, “Spoke in steady but forceful voice”. He was able to gain popularity for his style in his own paper. The New York Times did not portray him as well as he might have hoped for. The New York Times was not the only place where I found instances of him being criticized for his style. Waldrep, a historian whose work I have been researching stated, “He is a protester, a brawler, and a drinker”[4]. Waldrep failed to mention that he was a scholar. That shows that, yes he was an avid speaker and great at confronting the issues, but is pitfall was that he did not always have the content that he needed to make him as influential as Ida B. Wells.

Wells first public demonstration of her hatred for racism began when she was forced to move to the smoking section of a train when she was 22 years of age. This incident happened in Memphis Tennessee, where she boarded the train with her first class ticket. The conductor got up and forced her to the back of the train, with the help of three men, to the smoking section. This infuriated Wells so much that she got off of the train at the very next stop. She sued the company and won on the basis of separate but equal rights were sacrificed. But the decision was later taken to the Supreme Court and the decision was over ruled. By 1889 she became a founding partner in the Free Speech and Headlight, a newspaper out of Memphis[5]. She wrote columns exemplifying her controversial news. In 1890, her columns turned to the topic of lynching because a good friend Thomas Moss, was lynched simply for providing serious economic competition to another grocery shop owner. “A group of angry white men thought they would "eliminate" the competition so they attacked People's grocery, but the owners fought back, shooting one of the attackers. The owners of People's Grocery were arrested, but a lynch-mob broke into the jail, dragged them away from town, and brutally murdered all three. Again, this atrocity galvanized her mettle. She wrote in The Free Speec h.” [6] Here one can see that she is not scared of publishing controversial articles. This is a way I see Wells confronting the issue at an early date before her first pamphlet, Southern Horrors.

Ida B. Wells was a very influential writer and an orator. This is a remarkable feat in and of its self. One of two reasons is that she is black. But she wasn’t the only person that was of African American decent getting her message out there. She was also a female. The 19th amendment will not pass until 1920 granting the women the right to vote. She was able to effect many Americans at the time even know she did not have the right to vote yet.

Ida B. Wells was able to have a much greater impact and have a more influential voice in her writings than other activist. I will be following her rhetoric strategy as an activist to explain how she was better at conveying her message then that of most activists. In this rhetoric strategy she pinpoints how confrontational one should be in fighting as well as how much content should be provided to be a very influential.

Wells wrote a series of pamphlets detailing the problems that comes along with the lynch law in the south. In her first pamphlet written in 1892, Ida B. Wells repeatedly responded on instances of rape. This attracted the attention of the people and is one way she was able to get her ideas noticed. She described the white ignorance of the African American man, or women. In the instances of rape, it appears to be a common theme to falsely convict a black man for the raping of a white woman. Most of the time the white man pursuing the black man of the crime often knew that the woman was not being raped, but indulging on a little afternoon delight. Here is an example here,

“Ebenzer Fowler, the wealthiest colored man in Issaquena County, Mississippi, was shot down on the street in Mayersville, January 30 1885, just before dark by an armed body of white men who filled his body with bullets. They charged him with writing a note to a white woman of the place, which they intercepted and which proved there was an intimacy existing between them. Hundred of such cases might be cited.”[7]

The ignorance of the white man of this time is shown. They have no proof of rape, but just proof of intimacy existing between the two. Ida B. Wells by publishing this instance of filling bodies full of lead gets the attention of readers. It confronts the issue with a certain reality aspect giving proof of the terrible things that might not be noticed by the everyday person.

She also gives reports of women lying to police officers about the love affair between them and a black man. Stating that she was raped, for the possibility that if she had a child it would be of dark complexion. There is an instance in Memphis, where a farmers’ wife gave birth to a dark child and there were three men accused of such actions, all three were reported missing and not found.[8] The pressure for women to lie to police officers is overwhelming, for the sake of not being out casted by society.

An instance of a woman lying about being raped because of the thought she was pregnant is published in the Southern Horrors. Wells told the story as follows,

“Mrs.J.S.Underwood, the wife of a minister of Elyria, Ohio, accused an Afro American of rape. She told her husband that during his absence in 1888 the African American man came to the kitchen door, forced his way in the house and insulted her. She tried to drive him out with a heavy poker, but he overpowered and chloroformed her and she arouse with her clothing in rags.”[9]

The African American man was given a trial and convicted of raping a woman of the highest respectability, and thus sentenced to 15 years in jail. Sometime later Mrs. Underwood came to fall under the mounting guilt and her conscience objected she confessed to making the story up and announcing that it was consensual intercourse. She created the story because she was scared of having a “negro baby,” as that would be greatly frowned upon under the social conditions of the time. Ida B. Wells confirmed that Mrs. Underwood’s story was just one of thousands such cases in the South. Wells also uses these stories to convince readers that lynch law was not the best answer for justice.

Wells’ greatest tool in her rhetorical plan was the use of statistics to the outrageous numbers of African Americans accused wrongfully or lynched and murdered and never given the possibility of a fair trial. In a Red Record, these numbers surprised reader and undoubtedly changed their perspectives. Wells uses a variety of statistics; arson, suspected robbery, assault, attempted assault etcetera. The statistical information that stood out the most was the amount of rape and murdering done by the African Americans in the statistical report. If you added up the amount were accused of rape and murder it would be more than that of all the other statistical categories combined. If the African American were falsely accused of raping and murdering then the whites argument would not hold water. A large group of whites fought for the lynch law. It was said without it that black men would be raping more women than they already are. “Negroes had to be killed to avenge their assaults upon women.”[10] This excuse that Ida B. Wells clearly does not work for African Americans that are being recording for raping women is clearly false.

In the Southern Horrors there is an excerpt that Wells includes and demonstrates her use of satire in serious situations against lynching and the white man. In highlighting one such case where rape of a white woman was never mentioned, wells demonstrated another rhetorical skill, satire.

“Near Vicksburg, Mississippi, a murder was committed by a gang of burglars. Of course it must have been done by Negroes, and Negroes were arrested for it. It is believed that two men, Smith Tooley and John Adams belonged to a gang controlled by white men and fearing exposure, on the night of July 4th, they were hanged in the courthouse yard.”[11]

Satirically states the assumption that if there was a murder, it must have been done by black man. Though this was not a very funny state of affairs, but her humor puts in contrast the realistic shocking truth to lynching. The one of the reasons they may have been killed was that their white co-conspirators killed them before they could talk. The lynching that took place was just a murder amongst thieves.

Wells also states the fears caused by lynching were leading to declining profits for white males. As Wells wrote,

“The Afro Americans of Memphis denounced the lynching of three of their best citizens and urged and waited for the authorities to act in the matter and bring lynchers to justice. No attempt was made to do so, and the black men left the city by thousands.”[12]

The rapid loss of population hurt Memphis in almost every way. There were not as many pedestrians to ride the railways as there once were. The city of Memphis tried to convince the African Americans to give them their patronage once again, but the damage was already done. The loss of trust from law enforcement was the cause for the mass departure from the city, which was the direct cause of the poor economy at the time affecting the city. “It seems likely that the soaring number of lynching’s was related to the collapse of the South's cotton economy.”[13] Here Wells was attacking lynching not just from a moral point of view, but from an economic standpoint as well. Such a practical approach would get the attention of small business owners and farmers across the nation, who might see that lynching would cause more damage that it would ever be able to justify.

Another part of lynching that affected whites and blacks where Wells addressed was police brutality. The public hearing the government mistreating citizens is never good public relations for any institute let along the America. She tells this chilling account,

“The Police force came upon two black men and within three minutes the colored men were under arrest. One of them men accused of the crime complied with the officer and got down on the ground, Cantrelle the arresting officer put his gun in the young man’s face ready to blow his brains out if he moved.”[14]

This account that Wells published in her pamphlet is about, two officers learning there was a conspiracy for burglary. The officers found the nearest two black men and arrested them for burglary in a very violent fashion. The papers later wrote that the two African Americans were desperadoes and up to no good and conspiring in a burglary. Wells makes a good point in her rhetorical plan to get noticed by including the police being directly ignorant towards the law. She brings up the issue of lynching not just being done by the general public, but as well in the judicial and executive branches of government. Ida B. Wells was the most influential activist of the time. She uses these accounts of officer brutality and statistics for great content and the ability to confront the issue very effectively. She was able to be more influential than Thomas Fortune because of the content that was in her pamphlets. Booker T. Washington was another activist I will be looking closely at.

Booker T. Washington shared similarities with Ida B. Wells, but was also quite different. Like Wells he was formally a slave, both of which were actually born into slavery and freed by the Civil War in 1865. As a young man he became head of the new Tuskegee Institute, then a teachers’ college for blacks. It became his base of operations. He began starting speeches whenever he was allowed to get on a stage. At this point in time these are where the differences shown between Booker T. Washington and the other two activist show. Booker T. Washington was very content full like Ida B. Wells, but lacked the passion for confronting the issue that Thomas Fortune and Ida B. Wells did very well. Booker T. Washington gave a speech called the “Atlanta Exposition” in 1895. It appealed to middle-class whites across the South, asking whites to give blacks men a chance to work and develop separately, while implicitly promising not to demand the vote. White leaders across the North, from politicians to industrialist, and from philanthropists to church men, enthusiastically supported Washington, as did most middle-class blacks. Unlike Wells, Booker T. Washington did not confront whites. He pushed for freedoms but never demanded them. A Historian Wilson J. Moses finds that, “Even now, he (Booker T. Washington” stands among the most subtle politicians ever to spring from the soil of Virginia.”[15] Booker T. Washington’s first big speech was approximately the same time as Ida B. Wells’s pamphlets. The Atlanta Exposition, he mentioned several times throughout having to overcome challenges in life by being a more intellectual Negro man.

“There is no defense or security for any of us except in the highest intelligence and development of all. If anywhere there are efforts tending to curtail the fullest growth of the Negro, let these efforts be turned into stimulating, encouraging, and making him the most useful and intelligent citizen. Effort or means so invested will pay a thousand per cent interest. These efforts will be twice blessed—blessing him that gives and him that takes.”[16]

Washington believed blacks stake the challenge of learning to read and write to show that African American men are more than just a bunch of lower-class citizens who do not have the capacity to such thinking. The similarities of Washington and Ida B. Wells are shown. Ida B. Wells also spoke on the needing of education as she was a teacher for a local black school.

Booker T. Washington concerned for the education needed for the black man also was out raged at his black community at the statistics up against the African American man. He states that there is too much violence happening by his own men,

“We shall constitute one-third and more of the ignorance and crime of the South, or one third to the business and industrial prosperity of the South, or we shall prove a veritable body or death, stagnating, depressing, retarding every effort to advance the body politic.”[17]

These statements are true in the case of the statistical aspect of it. African Americans were making up most of the crime in the South. Wells evidence of prejudice within the system suggests that Washington’s use of stats was misleading. The statistical information and racial discrimination was going on in all phases of crime back in the 1890’s. Booker T. Washington would not have been the only one wrong though. Every statistic that was able to make the African Americans look appalling was used. The ability of persuading white Americans as well as the African Americans themselves that they were a dangerous was an ever more pressing that all African Americans would have to fight through. That was one way white Americans had to keep down the African Americans at the time. While Washington seemed at times to believe that the black man was an uncontrollable monster, Wells did not. This is why Ida B. Wells was a much more effective activist than Booker T. Washington. Ida B. Wells effectively impacted the American people, she demanded rights, and demanded freedoms. The “Atlanta Exposition” was referred to as the “Atlanta Compromise” by W.E.B. Du Bois. Kyle D. Wolf a Historian wrote, “It is apparent in this platform that Du Bois was an intellectual, who valued an education and the advancement of African Americans, unlike Booker T. Washington who was considered to be a compromiser.”[18] This was said about Washington because lacked the passion for attacking the issue of lynching and not demanding the rights for blacks but merely asking for them. This was a problem for Du Bois

W.E.B Du Bois had a different background then that of Ida B. Wells or Booker T. Washington. Du Bois was born in Barrington, Massachusetts in 1868. He completed high school and then went to Fisk University where, in 1888, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree. Du Bois went on to go to Harvard where he obtained his Master of Arts and his Ph. D. the highest degree in the liberal arts field. He was the first black man to ever receive a Ph. D. from Harvard University. As I again quote the historian Kyle D. Wolf as he observed, “Du Bois was also liked mine with Ida B. Wells. She clearly wanted lynching to become a federal government issue, but she also distributed propaganda to the masses trying to spread her anti-lynching campaign which was also done by Du Bois.”[19] W.E.B Du Bois shared similarities between Ida B. Wells. They were handing out information showing that they cared about the informative part of the lynching argument as Thomas Fortune did not put as much research into. Du Bois and Wells didn’t work together for much of the time, but had the same approach and actions against lynching. Du Bois was starting a movement with Ida B. Wells called the Niagara Movement, because the first meeting ever held was called in Niagara Falls, Canada. Another shared characteristic was that both published and wrote designed to shock. An example of this would be in his “Niagara’s Declaration of Principles, 1905,” a document powerful than the Atlanta Exposition speech by Booker T. Washington. The declaration was comprised with a list of demands rather than a list of compromises in the “Atlanta Exposition”. These demands were radical at the time and faced much resentment by the white society. He called for:

“Freedom of Speech, an unfettered and unsubsidized press, manhood suffrage, the abolition of all caste distinctions based simply on race and color, the recognition of the principles of human brotherhood as, a practical present creed, a belief in the dignity of labor, united effort to realize these ideals under wise and, courageous leadership.”[20]

Ida B. Wells agreed with these demands, and while she was at the meetings for meetings for the Niagara Movement, she discussed ways to circulate more propaganda. She helped much with the foundation of the NAACP organization. Historian Waldrep stated, “In the twentieth century, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People built on the work of Ida B. Wells”.[21] The work of Ida B. Wells was the main reason that the NAACP was as effective as it was in later years. Historian Kyle D. Wolf also later states, “The African-American journalist and anti-lynching crusader Ida B. Wells-Barnett was actively involved when the organization held its second conference in May 1910, where member chose to name the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.”[22] The name was formally adopted May 30th, and the N.A.A.C.P incorporated a year later in 1911.

Ida B. Wells and W.E.B Du Bois shared involvement for the founding of the NAACP. But the Idea of keeping records for lynching was not first introduced by the NAACP. Her influence from her previous writings a, Red Record, where Wells started introducing statistics into being a very effective way into awakening the nation, the use of statistical information was carried on through the NAACP.

Ida B. Wells would soon have a falling out. Well’s attitude towards Du Bois was started because of the “Steve Greene Case.” According to historian Paula Giddens,

"Steve Green's Story" was the prominent headline in the inaugural issue in November of the naacp's official organ, the Crisis, edited by W.E.B. Du Bois. Although the short article mentioned the fact that Green had "lawyers" who helped him, there was no indication of the role that the black community of Chicago- particularly one of the naacp's own, Wells-Barnett- played in saving his life”[23]

Ida B. Wells and Du Bois were starting to clash. There was much controversy of the direction that the NAACP should take as well. Du Bois believed it needed to focus on the suffrage for black men first, while Wells believed it should focus on the suffrage for women and black women alike, as well as men. There is also a clash on what articles should be published in the crisis. In this instance,

“The attitude even extended to the "What to Read" list printed in that same November 1910 issue of the Crisis. Although Wells-Barnett recently had published her article on Northern black women in a mainstream publication, it was not listed among the other articles selected. However several of Du Bois's articles, as well as three by Mary White Ovington found their way onto the list.” [24]

This would finally be the last straw for Ida B. Wells and the NAACP. She quit in 1912. In the Beginning she running the organization, but she was clearly ahead of her time as she was not wanted by the NAACP for pushing African American rights.

In conclusion, Ida B. Wells was a prominent figure who confronted lynching. With the publishing Southern Horrors in 1892, an in-depth challenge to white Americans’ understanding of the crime of lynching that would transform the national dialogue on race. While Wells was not the first prominent African American activist to speak out, or the one best liked by the national press, she was nevertheless among the most influential race reformers of her day. Comparing Wells’ methods and public reception to other prominent figures, including Thomas Fortune, Booker T. Washington, and W.E.B. Du Bois, suggests that her approach had a significant impact. She was both passionate, and statistically-oriented. As well as confrontational and ironic, committed and gifted at getting and keeping the public’s attention. She awakened the nation’s conscience and revolutionized the way many saw the rights of African Americans. Her approach, a confrontational one, challenged that of Washington, and eventually won out. Along with Du Bois, Wells helped to form the NAACP, a reform organization that demanded the rights of citizenship for African Americans.


[1] Christopher Waldrep. “African Americans Confront Lynching”, 19

[2] “Fortune Stirred them Up: Excitement at the Colored Mass Meeting. Shouts, Cheers and Hisses” New York Times 1892.

[3] “Fortune Stirred them Up: Excitement at the Colored Mass Meeting. Shouts, Cheers and Hisses” New York Times 1892.

[4] Christopher Waldrep. “African Americans Confront Lynching” P21

[5] Lee D. Baker. “Ida B. Wells-Barnett and her Passion for Justice” Duke University, 1995, http://www.duke.edu/~ldbaker/classes/AAIH/caaih/ibwells/ibwbkgrd.html.

[6] Lee D. Baker. “Ida B. Wells-Barnett and her Passion for Justice” Duke University, 1995, http://www.duke.edu/~ldbaker/classes/AAIH/caaih/ibwells/ibwbkgrd.html.

[7] Ida B. Wells. “Southern Horrors.” In Southern Horrors and Other Writings: The Anti-Lynching Campaign of Ida B. Wells, 1892-1900, edited by Jacqueline Jones Royster, (Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 1997), 71

[8]Ida B. Wells. “Southern Horrors.” In Southern Horrors and Other Writings: The Anti-Lynching Campaign of Ida B. Wells, 1892-1900, edited by Jacqueline Jones Royster, (Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 1997), 56

[9] Ida B. Wells. “Southern Horrors.” In Southern Horrors and Other Writings: The Anti-Lynching Campaign of Ida B. Wells, 1892-1900, edited by Jacqueline Jones Royster, (Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 1997), 54

[10] Ida B. Wells. “A Red Record.” In Southern Horrors and Other Writings: The Anti-Lynching Campaign of Ida B. Wells, 1892-1900, edited by Jacqueline Jones Royster, (Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 1997), 78

[11] Ida B. Wells. “A Red Record.” In Southern Horrors and Other Writings: The Anti-Lynching Campaign of Ida B. Wells, 1892-1900, edited by Jacqueline Jones Royster, (Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 1997), 71

[12] Ida B. Wells. “Southern Horrors.” In Southern Horrors and Other Writings: The Anti-Lynching Campaign of Ida B. Wells, 1892-1900, edited by Jacqueline Jones Royster, (Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 1997), 68

[13] Digital History, “Explorations Lynching” University of Ohio, http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/learning_ history/lynching/lynching_menu.cfm.

[14] Ida B. Wells. “Mob Rule in New Orleans.” In Southern Horrors and Other Writings: The Anti-Lynching Campaign of Ida B. Wells, 1892-1900, edited by Jacqueline Jones Royster, Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 1997, 161

[15] Wilson J. Moses 2010. "Review Essay: OF MR. ROBERT J. NORRELL AND OTHERS," Alabama , 2010: 62-71. (Academic Search Complete , Academic search complete)(accessed April 20, 2010

[16] Booker T. Washington, “Atlanta Exposition Address, 1898.” Black History Bulletin: 68 (2005): 19.

[17] Booker T. Washington, “Atlanta Exposition Address, 1898.” Black History Bulletin: 68 (2005): 19.

[18] Kyle D. Wolf. “The Niagara Movement of 1905: A Look Back to a Century Ago” Afro-Americans in New York Life and History (Jul 2008), 9.

[19] Kyle D. Wolf. “The Niagara Movement of 1905: A Look Back to a Century Ago” Afro-Americans in New York Life and History (Jul 2008), 11.

[20] Kyle D. Wolf. “The Niagara Movement of 1905: A Look Back to a Century Ago” Afro-Americans in New York Life and History (Jul 2008), 15.

[21] Christopher Waldrep. “African Americans Confront Lynching” P59

[22] Kyle D. Wolf. “The Niagara Movement of 1905: A Look Back to a Century Ago” Afro-Americans in New York Life and History (Jul 2008), 16.

[23] Paula Giddens. “Missing in Action Ida B. Wells, the naacp, and the Historical Record” Indiana University Press (2001), 14

[24] Paula Giddens. “Missing in Action Ida B. Wells, the naacp, and the Historical Record” Indiana University Press (2001), 14

Work Cited

Primary:

Fortune Stirred them Up: Excitement at the Colored Mass Meeting. Shouts, Cheers and Hisses” New York Times 1892.

Ida B. Wells. “Southern Horrors.” In Southern Horrors and Other Writings: The Anti-Lynching Campaign of Ida B. Wells, 1892-1900, edited by Jacqueline Jones Royster, (Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 1997), 50-200

Ida B. Wells. “A Red Record.” In Southern Horrors and Other Writings: The Anti-Lynching Campaign of Ida B. Wells, 1892-1900, edited by Jacqueline Jones Royster, (Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 1997), 78

Ida B. Wells. “Mob Rule in New Orleans.” In Southern Horrors and Other Writings: The Anti-Lynching Campaign of Ida B. Wells, 1892-1900, edited by Jacqueline Jones Royster, Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 1997, 161

Booker T. Washington, “Atlanta Exposition Address, 1898.” Black History Bulletin: 68 (2005): 19.

Secondary:

Waldrep Christopher. “African Americans Confront Lynching” 19-86

Baker D. Lee. “Ida B. Wells-Barnett and her Passion for Justice” Duke University, 1995, http://www.duke.edu/~ldbaker/classes/AAIH/caaih/ibwells/ibwbkgrd.html.

Wilson J. Moses 2010. "Review Essay: OF MR. ROBERT J. NORRELL AND OTHERS," Alabama, 2010: 62-71. (Academic Search Complete, Academic search complete)(accessed April 20, 2010

Digital History, “Explorations Lynching” University of Ohio, http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/learning_ history/lynching/lynching_menu.cfm.

Kyle D. Wolf. “The Niagara Movement of 1905: A Look Back to a Century Ago” Afro-Americans in New York Life and History (Jul 2008), 9.

Paula Giddens. “Missing in Action Ida B. Wells, the naacp, and the Historical Record” Indiana University Press (2001), 14

More by this Author

  • The Spindletop Effects
    1

    Oil was able to revolutionize Texas like no other natural resource ever before. Oil was turning rural areas into thriving boomtowns. It was not the easiest resource to commandeer, but one well worth all of the hard ship...


Comments 1 comment

S Leretseh profile image

S Leretseh 2 years ago

There was of course lynching of blacks. I have done quite an extensive research on black history and I have found that in the white communities across America at the time in which the lynchings were taking place, the overwhelming majority of white people did in fact favor the practice. They believed in protected the white community from the black male criminal element. Mostly, they believed it was a much needed measure to protect white females from black male rapes. History should be viewed in the context of the time in which the event(s) took place. America was very much an obsessively law-abiding country during the time of lynchings. Every lynching that I've read about white people believed the black man was guilty of his crime toward a white person. There were occasional killings by white people toward innocent blacks. Acts of this kind of unprovoked violence by whites against blacks tho was extremely rare. 99% of the time white males went on the attack it was in response to a brutal act of violence (rape/murder) on a white person (or the slaughter of an entire white family). So the act of provocation by blacks during this time (Ida Wells' lifetime) should not be just summarily dismissed. Before forced integration (1964) whites and blacks lived separately. There was NOT suppose to be acts of violence perpetrated by one people against another - and specifically toward the female. AGAIN, history shows us that about 99% of the violent retribution for an inter-racial crime the perpetrators of the crime were black and victim white. Also, very few telephones and no 9-11 back then. Acts of retribution were seen as sending a message about interracial crimes.

As for Ida Wells, she was considered by white people who met her as extremely bombastic - same sort of personality as DuBois and Trotter. Consistent with black apologists for black crimes against white people (continuing all the way to the present), Ida Wells never expressed - in her writings - the slighted sense of sympathy for the white people who were victimized by a brutal black crime.

Finally, most of the lynched blacks, and particularly in the South , were lynched by fellow blacks. (Google -- Blacks Who Lynched Blacks -TRUTH)

White people never bothered to correct Tuskegee Inst. in their report of lynchings since white people believed it struck terror in the black male that white people were so ready to take this step (particularly for rape and murder)

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working