Ida B. Wells Denounces Lynching

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(WOMENSENEWS)–1892. Ida B. Wells, editor of the small Memphis newspaper, The Free Speech and Headlight, denounced the lynching of three black grocers. Her life was threatened and the newspaper office was vandalized. Wells fled to New York, and later moved to Chicago. She continued to write, lecture and organize against allowing lynchings–mostly perpetrated by whites in the South to assert power over blacks–to go unpunished.

Wells, who married and took the name Wells-Barnett, was a leading voice in a black women’s anti-lynching movement that documented and publicized the crimes.

Mary Church Terrell, Mary B. Talbert, Jessie Daniel Ames and Mary McLeod Bethune were key organizers in the campaign. Wells-Barnett was a founder of the NAACP and active in the Negro Women’s Club movement.

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