6th out of 86 books — 20 voters
Ida: A Sword among Lions: Ida B. Wells and the Campaign against Lynching
In the tradition of towering biographies that tell us as much about America as they do about their subject, Ida: A Sword Among Lions is a sweepingnarrative about a country and a crusader embroiled in the struggle against lynching: a practice that imperiled not only the lives of blackmen and women, but also a nation based on law and riven by race.
At the center of the nation...more
At the center of the nation...more
Hardcover, 800 pages
Published March 11th 2008 by Amistad
(first published January 1st 2008)
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I'd never heard about Ida B. Wells, until I read a blog post somewhere recommending this biography. I think reading this book "blind" made it more interesting because I didn't know what to expect from this woman's life. I commend Giddings research and fantastic writing to keep me engaged (though it definitely took me a long time to finish it) and I feel like I got a really good feel for who Ida B. Wells was. I think the most interesting thing was seeing Ida struggle against marginalization (some...more
This book is challenging to read because of the length and depth of subject matter, however, I walked away from the book with a renewed sense of pride for the rich history of Black women in America. Ida Wells is a heroine in my view and Paula Giddings did a phenomenal job capturing this.
This book brought into the open a woman who has been sidelined and pushed under a barrel despite her efforts to educate and mobilize black men and women during the very touchy period of reconstruction through post World War I. This is the time when the South got back it's traditional political strength, and the federal government did not want to "offend" the southern politicians, which resulted in negro rights being trampled and separate but equal becoming a way of life for blacks in the south a...more
Ida B. Wells was a journalist and tireless campaigner against lynching around the turn of the 20th century. She had a fascinating and exciting life that spanned a changing era from the end of slavery to the mid-twentieth century. Her parents were slaves, but she was able to get an education, travel, and become an important voice for equal rights for Blacks. She knew and spent time with Jane Adams, Susan B. Anthony, Frederick Douglass and WEB Du Bois, to name just a few. Her writing against lynch...more
Run out of Memphis for her investigative (and incendiary!) journalism and ridiculed by her moderate contemporaries for black separatist and pro-woman views, Ida B. Wells' activism precedes those credited for similar "novel" actions. Rosa Parks (and maybe not Wells) was not the first person kicked out of transport designated for white people only. Wells traveled around the United States investigating and speaking against lynching and dispelled the myth of the black male rapist. Paula Giddings sug...more
I wanted to be an investigative journalist when I was in high school so when Ida B. Wells appeared in our history segments I was fascinated and wanted to know more. Fast forward and I no longer have an interest in journalism but Ida B. Wells still holds my attention. I wanted to like this book but the inclusion of all manner of trivial matters of Ida's personal life (she turns out not to be a very likeable person - hot-headed, sensitive and self-absorbed) along with details of all the requisite...more
One fascinating part of the life of one of African American history's most interesting women. Teacher, activist, one of the original founders of the NAACP, outspoken journalist, and crusader against lynching and segregation. It's hard to believe one person was so involved in civil rights, especially during a time when the consequences for speaking out could be fatal. This book takes a scholarly look at her work to bring the horrors of lynching to the attention of the nation. Good book for a movi...more
Well, she's no Doris Kearns Goodwin and it's a hard slog but well worth it. I learned so much about the interworkings of the antiracist social movement. It's heartbreaking how she's continually marginalized but stays the course campaigning against lynching. Of course, she was clearly a prickly pear herself. A great history of lynching, feminism, Chicago politics. Very different from the breezy When and Where I Enter.
Extremely comprehensive. Anyone who needs to gather tons of background knowledge (and contextual evidence) about Wells-Barnett should read this book. It made teaching my students about Wells-Barnett a lot easier because I had plenty of information to pull from. It does get too dense in places though, but I can't fault Giddings for being so passionate and interested in her topic.
I purchased the book back in April as I wanted to know more about Ida B. Wells. The book is very well-researched and discusses all of strengths and weaknesses. I have other biographies of W.E.B. DuBois and Booker T. Washington that were contemporaries, and Giddings' book gives me a view of the times through Ida's eyes.
This is a brilliant book about a truly astounding woman. A biography of Wells and part of her life's work, the antilynching campaign but also takes in a sweeping view of Reconstruction and early 20C political and social movements which makes it an essential read on American history.
Have to admit I didn't know much about her other than her name before reading this book. So much we as Africa Americans we don't know is our own fault. If you don't tell the kids what you know the how are they ever going to her about what life was like back then.
Paula J. Giddings is a professor of Afro-American Studies at Smith College.More about Paula J. Giddings...