Southern Horrors: Ida B. Wells

Topics: Black people, African American, Race and Ethnicity Pages: 4 (1473 words) Published: March 18, 2014
In the late 19th century, Ida B. Wells dedicated most of her life to spreading the word about the horrific nature of lynching in the American South. Wells was a journalist, teacher, rights activist, and a public speaker. As an African American woman in the south during this time, Ida B. Wells was able to use her status as journalist to expose to the general public the true facts of lynching cases that suggested black wrongdoings. Wells used cases from all over America to convey the innocence of African American lynching victims. There was a huge double standard between whites and black on the premise of crime. Although white men also participated in heinous acts, they were far less punished compared to their black neighbors. The majority of the cases being brought up at the time suggested that African American men were violating white women. Many violent white men would choose to murder an African American because they suspected he had been “criminally intimate”1 with a white women. In some instances, the reason for lynching was totally personal and obviously took place just to make a statement and “keep the nigger down”2 and the white men would justify it by claiming that the African American was wrong or barbaric. Because lynching is unlawful and without a trial, the accused stood little to no chance in seeking justice. Wells tries to make it clear that white women were to blame just as much as the black men who were involved in the affairs, and that in most of the situations the women were consenting or even initiating the intimate acts. When trying expose the truth about these issues, Wells and others who spoke up were warned and told off by the white men’s press. Even though it was evident that the southern white population was unhappy about the claims being made against lynching, Wells made it clear that she had a specific purpose to disprove the assertions being made against her people.

Angered by the murder of some close friends,...
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