Patrick Beane AMH2020 February 7, 2011 The Uncomfortable Truth of the United States¶ Past Ida B.

Wells was one of the lucky few black women to receive an education when she was growing up. Even luckier for society, she decided to put it to use. Ida was unhappy with the unjust lynchings and overall discrimination and lies that the black community had to face on a daily basis. Instead of complaining about being treated unfairly, she decided to do something about it. Ida began writing articles about the real truth behind the lynchings that occurred, ingeniously sighting her sources from white newspapers so that her writings could not be disputed. Her writings among other things were the kindle to the fire of civil rights for all in present day America. When Ida B. Wells first started writing her articles, the majority of the population, not just whites but blacks as well, knew lynching was an occurrence that happened in the south. It was to the extent and the frequency of these occurrences that people were ignorant to. At the time, the only source the country had for learning about news was through various periodicals, the majority of which were run by white people. These periodicals were likely to be biased towards the white man¶s innocence, while the black man, lynched for any crime he was accused of, was guilty beyond a doubt. Anyone that knew the truth of these lynchings was too afraid to write about them. Ida was one of the first people to start writing about these injustices and continued on, even though her own life was threatened. Her writings are highly important


A second audience spoken to through A Red Record is the white people that realize lynching is going on and tolerate it as if it were a part of the necessary and natural order of society.27). ³When the Christian world knows the alarming growth and extent of outlawry in our land. One audience Wells writes to is the readers of white newspapers. 157).because in this current day. She wanted to let people know that it was most definitely not an excusable punishment. She is most descriptive of the brutalities of lynching in these particular writings to sway the audience towards the idea that lynching is actually a detriment to the American Justice System. Ida felt that the reason lynchings occurred was because the American people thought that it was just another way of punishing criminals. the majority of Americans are still left in the dark when it comes to the truth of lynchings. 2 . She speaks frequently of how the papers leave out the whole truth or blur it to make the unfair treatment of blacks seem more acceptable. some means will be found to stop it´(pg. She encourages people to seek out the truth and not just to rely on the white newspapers for the whole truth. Her writings are purposely vivid and descriptive in what exactly happened to the persecuted because she was trying to make her point and agenda as clear as could be. rather an abomination to the American justice system. The purpose of all of Ida B. that it was ³against American Values´(pg. Wells¶ writings is to inform the public of the unjust lynchings and other horrors going on in the late 1800s. That lynching was an uncomfortable yet necessary act for there to be civility and peace in the United States.

160). a man named Coy. ³The press dispatches of February 18. These sometimes random or far-fetched accusations were used to ³terrorize. The question of whether or not Ida B. the flesh cut from his body by men and boys. and control African Americans´(pg. ³Those who would like to assist in the work of disseminating these facts. ³It was claimed that they had been stealing hogs. told in detail how he was tied to a tree. had been ³sweethearting´ for more than a year. What is not mentioned in that quote is how the article goes on to explain how the white woman and the victim. can do so by ordering copies«´(pg. Wells¶ reasoning for why lynchings occurred can be summed up into one word: fear. It was by the threats of violence from important white men in the community as well as any other party against the act to charge him with the crime. That quote enough should suffice as evidence that punishments to blacks in the late 1800s were nothing more than a complete farce in the face of the American justice system. 122). Ida even says that she wants many people interested in fighting lynch rule to get involved and help spread the word to others who may be interested. the woman he had assaulted gladly set fire to him. and 15. 1892. oppress. were afraid of the potential progress blacks had and they wanted to stop it no matter what. The white people of the time whether knowing this was the reason they were doing it. So many of the lynchings that Ida wrote of showed that the black man was charged with a crime he did not commit and punished for it regardless. Wells¶ articles are effective is redundant. but even this claim had not been 3 .The articles in Mob Rule in New Orleans are trying to draw in the focus of those who are interested in the anti-lynch cause.32). White people feared that the newly freed black population would try and take over what was thought of as ³White America´.000 persons saw him burn to death´ (pg. or albeit a subconscious endeavor. and after coal oil was poured over him.

That these times were so primitive and barbaric in rational and thought. they were still persecuted by unhappy whites. enough to downgrade the status of human life to object simply based on the tone of one¶s skin. The writings are vividly graphic and hold back no truth to the reader and at the time opening the eyes of the American citizens for the first time. Wells¶ articles and writings are a cornerstone in the foundation of our knowledge of what really went on during the time of lynching. That matter was not considered necessary´ (pg. Wells¶ has done. Reading about how all that was needed to get a black man lynched was to simply say that he was lying with a white woman.subjected to the investigation of a court. Word Count: 1. That one sentence is the general theme of the majority of lynchings that took place. Ida B. the head of the household is hanged and even though the others are proven innocent of something they had no responsibility for. stark truth.106). The unfair treatment of black people in the late 1800s had become such a hackneyed subject. Grade school teachers could and would go on for weeks when dealing with the subject of unfair treatment of race in that era. The context of the story is unimportant. having to read a book on it seemed unattractive.245 4 . the final sentence of the quote matters. was a shocking wake up to the cold. never providing the truth as well as Ida B. With no proof at all. Ida¶s mentioning of the lack of any consideration for one man¶s right to a trial only adds to the effectiveness of her writings. On page 111 of the Southern Horrors and Other Writings there is a writing talking of how a black family was suspected of poisoning a well.

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