Reliable Primary Sources
Primary sources are original records created at the time or after historical events occurred. Primary sources may include letters, manuscripts, diaries, journals, newspapers, speeches, interviews, memoirs, photographs, audio recordings, video recordings, research data, and objects or artifacts from the time in order for it to be considered reliable. These sources are raw materials that help interpret the past. Not every primary source is completely reliable, because they all are biased to the creator’s beliefs or values. The source in “Lynch Law in Georgia” will be discussed and evaluated to determine if the source of Ida B. Wells-Barnett, is reliable or if her own personal feelings made the document bias. This paper will examine a few key points in determining if the source is reliable, such as: did the recorder have firsthand knowledge of the event, was the source produced for personal or public use and finally if the information was recorded during the event or immediately after the event. Ida B. Wells- Barnett, did not have firsthand knowledge of the burning of Samuel Hose. She gathered her information form old newspaper clippings that reported the historical event. Wells-Barnett, also interviewed a detective who was assigned to investigate the burning of Hose. The author is not reporting first hand (or is first to record these immediately following an event), to be considered a reliable primary source. She is however, conveying the experiences and opinions of others which are, second hand sources and are considered reliable. The document was produced to give the public facts. The source was meant to be read by people of all ages and races. “The purpose of this pamphlet is to give the public the facts, in the belief that there is still a sense of justice in the American people, and that it will yet assert itself in condemnation of outlawry and in defense of oppressed and persecuted humanity.” Wells-Barnett used existing press...
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