Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All Its Phases

Ida B. Wells, Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All Its Phases. First published in The New York Age, 25 June 1892. From The Anti Lynching Pamphlets of Ida B. Wells, 1892-1920 by Patricia A. Schechter: “In order to launch resistance to lynching, [Ida B. Wells] had to prove that lynching’s primary victims, African American men, were people worthy of sympathy and citizens deserving protection. At the same time, she needed to present herself — an educated, middle-class Southern woman of mixed racial ancestry — as a credible dispenser of truth, a “representative” public figure able to command social and amoral authority. The context of racism and sexism in which she functioned made both tasks difficult. Wells-Barnett described lynching as an expression of conflict over rights, physical integrity, human dignity, and social power and the movement to end it was similarly fraught and contentious.”

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