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Southern Horrors and Other Writings: The Anti-Lynching Campaign of Ida B. Wells, 1892-1900

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❶The editorial in question was prompted by the many inhuman and fiendish lynchings of Afro-Americans which have recently taken place and was meant as a warning. The railroad corporations would be so effected they would in self-defense lobby to have the separate car law repealed.

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Under Sentence of Death: Lynching in the South. University of North Carolina Press, Columbia University Press, When and Where I Enter: Gender and Jim Crow: White Women, Black Men: Illicit Sex in the Nineteenth-Century South.

Yale University Press, Louisiana State University Press, Thinking Black, Thinking Feminist. South End Press, To Keep the Waters Troubled: The Life of Ida B.

Oxford University Press, Southern History Across the Color Line. Rudwick, Elliott and August Meier. Race Riot at East St. Louis, July 2, Southern Illinois University Press, Wells-Barnett and American Reform, A Festival of Violence: An Analysis of Southern Lynchings, University of Illinois Press, Historic Places of the Civil Rights Movement. Short entry on Ida B. National Women's Hall of Fame. Photographs and Postcards of Lynching in America. You may send this item to up to five recipients.

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Your rating has been recorded. Write a review Rate this item: Preview this item Preview this item. Southern horrors and other writings: Bedford series in history and culture. English View all editions and formats Summary: Wells and her late-nineteenth-century crusade to abolish lynching. Built around three crucial documents - Well's pamphlet Southern Horrors , her essay A Red Record , and her case study Mob Rule in New Orleans - the volume shows how Wells defined lynching for an international audience as an issue deserving public concern and action.

The editor's introduction places lynching in its historical context and provides important background information on Well's life and career. Also included are illustrations, a chronology, questions for consideration, a bibliography, and an index. Find a copy online Links to this item gutenberg. There was a time when such a thing was unheard of. There is a secret to this thing, and we greatly suspect it is the growing appreciation of white Juliets for colored Romeos.

Duke, before leaving Montgomery, signed a card disclaiming any intention of slandering Southern white women. The miscegnation laws of the South only operate against the legitimate union of the races; they leave the white man free to seduce all the colored girls he can, but it is death to the colored man who yields to the force and advances of a similar attraction in white women.

White men lynch the offending Afro-American, not because he is a despoiler of virtue, but because he succumbs to the smiles of white women.

Underwood, the wife of a minister of Elyria, Ohio, accused an Afro-American of rape. She told her husband that during his absence in , stumping the State for the Prohibition Party, the 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 when she revived her clothing was torn and she was in a horrible condition. She did not know the man but could identify him.

She pointed out William Offett, a married man, who was arrested and, being in Ohio, was granted a trial. The prisoner vehemently denied the charge of rape, but confessed he went to Mrs. Underwood's residence at her invitation and was criminally intimate with her at her request. This availed him nothing against the sworn testimony of a ministers wife, a lady of the highest respectability.

He was found guilty, and entered the penitentiary, December 14, , for fifteen years. Some time afterwards the woman's remorse led her to confess to her husband that the man was innocent. These are her words: I met Offett at the Post Office. He was polite to me, and as I had several bundles in my arms he offered to carry them home for me, which he did. He had a strange fascination for me, and I invited him to call on me.

He called, bringing chestnuts and candy for the children. By this means we got them to leave us alone in the room.

Then I sat on his lap. He made a proposal to me and I readily consented. Why I did so, I do not know, but that I did is true. He visited me several times after that and each time I was indiscreet. I did not care after the first time. In fact I could not have resisted, and had no desire to resist. When asked by her husband why she told him she had been outraged, she said: One was the neighbors saw the fellows here, another was, I was afraid I had contracted a loathsome disease, and still another was that I feared I might give birth to a Negro baby.

I hoped to save my reputation by telling you a deliberate lie. There are thousands of such cases throughout the South, with the difference that the Southern white men in insatiate fury wreak their vengeance without intervention of law upon the Afro-Americans who consort with their women.

A few instances to substantiate the assertion that some white women love the company of the Afro-American will not be out of place. Most of these cases were reported by the daily papers of the South. In the winter of the wife of a practicing physician in Memphis, in good social standing whose name has escaped me, left home, husband and children, and ran away with her black coachman.

She was with him a month before her husband found and brought her home. The coachman could not be found. The doctor moved his family away from Memphis, and is living in another city under an assumed name. In the same city last year a white girl in the dusk of evening screamed at the approach of some parties that a Negro had assaulted her on the street. He was captured, tried by a white judge and jury, that acquitted him of the charge. It is needless to add if there had been a scrap of evidence on which to convict him of so grave a charge he would have been convicted.

Sarah Clark of Memphis loved a black man and lived openly with him. This she did to escape the penitentiary and continued her illicit relation undisturbed. That she is of the lower class of whites, does not disturb the fact that she is a white woman. She has since joined him in Chicago.

If Lillie Bailey, a rather pretty white girl seventeen years of age, who is now at the City Hospital, would be somewhat less reserved about her disgrace there would be some very nauseating details in the story of her life. She is the mother of a little coon. The truth might reveal fearful depravity or it might reveal the evidence of a rank outrage. She will not divulge the name of the man who has left such black evidence of her disgrace, and, in fact, says it is a matter in which there can be no interest to the outside world.

She came to Memphis nearly three months ago and was taken in at the Woman's Refuge in the southern part of the city. She remained there until a few weeks ago, when the child was born. The ladies in charge of the Refuge were horified. The girl was at once sent to the City Hospital, where she has been since May She is a country girl. She came to Memphis from her fathers farm, a short distance from Hernando, Miss. Just when she left there she would not say. In fact she says she came to Memphis from Arkansas, and says her home is in that State.

She is rather good looking, has blue eyes, a low forehead and dark red hair. The ladies at the Woman's Refuge do not know anything about the girl further than what they learned when she was an inmate of the institution; and she would not tell much. When the child was born an attempt was made to get the girl to reveal the name of the Negro who had disgraced her, she obstinately refused and it was impossible to elicit any information from her on the subject. But a Negro child and to withhold its father's name and thus prevent the killing of another Negro "rapist.

Stricklin, was found in a white woman's room in that city. Although she made no outcry of rape, he was jailed and would have been lynched, but the woman stated she bought curtains of him he was a furniture dealer and his business in her room that night was to put them up. A white woman's word was taken as absolutely in this case as when the cry of rape is made, and he was freed. What is true of Memphis is true of the entire South. The daily papers last year reported a farmer's wife in Alabama had given birth to a Negro child.

When the Negro farm hand who was plowing in the field heard it he took the mule from the plow and fled. Frank Weems of Chattanooga who was not lynched in May only because the prominent citizens became his body guard until the doors of the penitentiary closed on him, had letters in his pocket from the white woman in the case, making the appointment with him.

Edward Coy who was burned alive in Texarkana, January 1, , died protesting his innocence. The woman who was paraded as a victim of violence was of bad character; her husband was a drunkard and a gambler. She was publicly reported and generally known to have been criminally intimate with Coy for more than a year previous. She was compelled by threats, if not by violence, to make the charge against the victim. When she came to apply the match Coy asked her if she would burn him after they had "been sweethearting" so long.

A large majority of the "superior" white men prominent in the affair are the reputed fathers of mulatto children. These are not pleasant facts, but they are illustrative of the vital phase of the so-called race question, which should properly be designated an earnest inquiry as to the best methods by which religion, science, law and political power may be employed to excuse injustice, barbarity and crime done to a people because of race and color.

There can be no possible belief that these people were inspired by any consuming zeal to vindicate God's law against miscegnationists of the most practical sort.

The woman was a willing partner in the victim's guilt, and being of the "superior" race must naturally have been more guilty. She has a black coachman who was married, and had been in her employ several years. During this time she gave birth to a child whose color was remarked, but traced to some brunette ancestor, and one of the fashionable dames of the city was its godmother. Marshall's social position was unquestioned, and wealth showered every dainty on this child which was idolized with its brothers and sisters by its white papa.

In course of time another child appeared on the scene, but it was unmistakably dark. All were alarmed, and "rush of blood, strangulation" were the conjectures, but the doctor, when asked the cause, grimly told them it was a Negro child.

There was a family conclave, the coachman heard of it and leaving his own family went West, and has never returned. As soon as Mrs. Marshall was able to travel she was sent away in deep disgrace. Her husband died within the year of a broken heart. Ebenzer Fowler, the wealthiest colored man in Issaquena County, Miss. 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.

Hundreds of such cases might be cited, but enough have been given to prove the assertion that there are white women in the South who love the Afro-American's company even as there are white men notorious for their preference for Afro-American women.

There is hardly a town in the South which has not an instance of the kind which is well known, and hence the assertion is reiterated that "nobody in the South believes the old thread bare lie that negro men rape white women. They know the men of the section of the country who refuse this are not so desirous of punishing rapists as they pretend. So say the pulpits, officials and newspapers of the South.

But when the victim is a colored woman it is different. Last winter in Baltimore, Md. They held her escort and outraged the girl. It was a deed dastardly enough to arouse Southern blood, which gives its horror of rape as excuse for lawlessness, but she was an Afro-American. The case went to the courts, an Afro-American lawyer defended the men and they were acquitted. He was jailed for six months, discharged, and is now a detective in that city.

In the same city, last May, a white man outraged an Afro-American girl in a drug store. He was arrested, and released on bail at the trial. It was rumored that five hundred Afro-Americans had organized to lynch him.

Two hundred and fifty white citizens armed themselves with Winchesters and guarded him. A cannon was placed in front of his home, and the Buchanan Rifles State Militia ordered to the scene for his protection. The Afro-American mob did not materialize. Only two weeks before Eph. A naked, bloody example of the blood-thirstiness of the nineteenth-century civilization of the Athens of the South!

No cannon or military was called out in his defense. He dared to visit a white woman. At the very moment these civilized whites were announcing their determination "to protect their wives and daughters," by murdering Grizzard, a white man was in the same jail for raping eight-year-old Maggie Reese, an Afro-American girl.

He was not harmed. The "honor" of grown women who were glad enough to be supported by the Grizzard boys and Ed Coy, as long as the liaison was not known, needed protection; they were white.

The outrage upon helpless childhood needed no avenging in this case; she was black. A white man in Guthrie, Oklahoma Territory, two months ago inflicted such injuries upon another Afro-American child that she died. He was not punished, but an attempt was made in the same town in the month of June to lynch an Afro-American who visited a white woman. Dorr, who is the husband of Russell Hancock's widow, was arrested for attempted rape on Mattie Cole, a neighbors cook; he was only prevented from accomplishing his purpose, by the appearance of Mattie's employer.

Dorr's friends say he was drunk and not responsible for his actions. The grand jury refused to indict him and he was discharged. From this exposition of the race issue in lynch law, the whole matter is explained by the well-known opposition growing out of slavery to the progress of the race.

This is crystalized in the oft-repeated slogan: Honest white men practically conceded the necessity of intelligence murdering ignorance to correct the mistake of the general government, and the race was left to the tender mercies of the solid South. Thoughtful Afro-Americans with the strong arm of the government withdrawn and with the hope to stop such wholesale massacres urged the race to sacrifice its political rights for sake of peace. They honestly believed the race should fit itself for government, and when that should be done, the objection to race participation in politics would be removed.

But the sacrifice did not remove the trouble, nor move the South to justice. One by one the Southern States have legally? The race regardless of advancement is penned into filthy, stifling partitions cut off from smoking cars. All this while, although the political cause has been removed, the butcheries of black men at Barnwell, S.

Not fifty of these were for political causes; the rest were for all manner of accusations from that of rape of white women, to the case of the boy Will Lewis who was hanged at Tullahoma, Tenn. Since then, not less than one hundred and fifty have been known to have met violent death at the hands of cruel bloodthirsty mobs during the past nine months. To palliate this record which grows worse as the Afro-American becomes intelligent and excuse some of the most heinous crimes that ever stained the history of a country, the South is shielding itself behind the plausible screen of defending the honor of its women.

The girl herself maintained that her assailant was a white man. When that poor Afro-American was murdered, the whites excused their refusal of a trial on the ground that they wished to spare the white girl the mortification of having to testify in court.

This cry has had its effect. It has closed the heart, stifled the conscience, warped the judgment and hushed the voice of press and pulpit on the subject of lynch law throughout this "land of liberty. They do not see that by their tacit encouragement, their silent acquiescence, the black shadow of lawlessness in the form of lynch law is spreading its wings over the whole country. Men who, like Governor Tillman, start the ball of lynch law rolling for a certain crime, are powerless to stop it when drunken or criminal white toughs feel like hanging an Afro-American on any pretext.

Even to the better class of Afro-Americans the crime of rape is so revolting they have too often taken the white man's word and given lynch law neither the investigation nor condemnation it deserved. They forget that a concession of the right to lynch a man for a certain crime, not only concedes the right to lynch any person for any crime, but so frequently is the cry of rape now raised it is in a fair way to stamp us a race of rapists and desperadoes. They have gone on hoping and believing that general education and financial strength would solve the difficulty, and are devoting their energies to the accumulation of both.

by Patricia A. Schechter, Ph.D., Portland State University

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Full text of "Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All Its Phases" See other formats The Project Gutenberg EBook of Southern Horrors, by Ida B. Wells-Barnett This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. Southern Horrors and Other Writings essaysWhat is mob violence? Well, nowadays, mob violence differs in comparison to mob violence in the nineteenth century. In the years following the Civil War, there was a lot of mistreatment of African Americans. Ida B. Wells, a young African American journal.

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Southern horrors and other writings: the anti-lynching campaign of Ida B. Wells, /. Southern Horrors and Other Writings: The Anti-Lynching Campaign of Ida B. Wells, / Edition 2 Ida B. Wells was an African American woman who achieved national and international fame as a journalist, public speaker, and community activist at the turn of the twentieth edupdf.ga: $