Staci Wigton's Reviews > Crusade for Justice: The Autobiography of Ida B. Wells

Crusade for Justice by Ida B. Wells-Barnett
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's review
Jan 17, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: academic-school
Read from January 17 to 30, 2012

The title definitely does this book justice! In her last years, Wells wrote this autobiography which I feel many historians should read. It's sad that she is not as well known of an African American hero because she is a woman, but she is just as courageous as Fredrick Douglas and Du Bois. After her parents both died within 24 hours of each other from the 1878 yellow fever epidemic, Wells was the oldest of 6 and had to take care of her younger siblings. She became a teacher and was continuously involved in writing for African American journals and newspapers. She investigated the psychological reasoning behind why whites would accuse black men of raping white women. Lynching, Wells stated, was just an excuse to get rid of blacks competing economically with whites and to terrorize future competitors and all blacks, ultimately treating them as second class citizens. Wells went to England to help advocate against lynching and while in London she formed the anti-lynching community which was the first in the world! In England, the people did not know of the harsh treatments African Americans were receiving in the US so Wells informed them. Of course the US denied having supported any sort of lynching because England was huge importer of cotton which made them indispensable economically if they decided to boycott US cotton due to lynchings. With this anti-lynching community, there was a declining result of lynchings and mob violence and even a two decade span of none being reported. Wells also helped 12 Africans Americans be released from prison and the death sentence after the 1919 Elaine, Arkansas Race Riot where over 100 blacks were murdered by whites for holding a meeting to obtain better payments for their cotton crops as sharecroppers with the white plantation owners. Instead of arresting the white men, the police arrested the blacks and 79 were charged for crimes, tried, and convicted! Wells used the power of the media and wrote pamphlets in protest for these 12 men and the NAACP and Walter White helped form legal defenses to overturn the Elaine convictions. Wells did a lot for African Americans to have some sort of justice in a time of Jim Crow laws and dangerous mob violence in the US. She should be remembered as a crucial black woman that helped in the racially uplift movement along side Du Bois.
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message 1: by Ij (new) - added it

Ij Great review!!!

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