Journalism/ Ida B. Wells term paper 10053

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January 28, 1999

Prof. Warren Metcalf

History 1493

Ida B. Wells

Ida B. Wells was dedicated to journalism and letting people know what is going on. With her journalism investigation instincts, she uses to identify what excuses the whites use to identify lynch campaign against blacks. In the following essay, I will explain what reasons for this vicious and sustained campaign of violence against African-Americans.

Ida B. Wells felt that the white should be considered as rapist more than blacks. One excuse that whites use to justify lynch campaigns were that blacks raped their women or wives, which in some cases were not true. For instance, on page 54, it explains that on January 16, 1982 a white woman of highest respectability accused an African American man of raping her. So, with Mrs. Underwood testimony, they placed the man in the penitentiary, not knowing that in a few years she would confess that he was innocent.

Their were many situations were if innocent or not were lynched to make a statement that whites were more dominant of the races. Another example, on page 101, “The entire system of the judiciary of this country is in the hands of white people. To this add the fact of the inherent prejudice against colored people, and it will be clearly seen that a white jury is certain to find a Negro prisoner guilty if there is the least evidence to warrant such a finding.” Meredith Lewis was arrested, but not convicted of a charge. The mob had to make a point to follow Meredith Lewis and kidnap him and hanged by his neck for a murder which her was not convicted.

I feel that the white people felt that the blacks were getting to close to be like an equal. With that on mind, the whites felt that they need to show the blacks that they still run things. For instance, on page 107, it clearly states, “There are friends of humanity who feel their souls shrink from any compromise with murder, but whose deep and abiding reverence for womanhood causes them to hesitate in giving their support to this crusade against Lynch Law, out of fear that they may encourage the miscreants whose deeds are worse than murder.” It goes on to explain blacks were lynched because the whites had the power to kill and get away with it and they prefer to kill, than taking it to court.

Furthermore, according to Ida B. Wells, the excuses that whites used to justify lynch campaigns against blacks were to show the blacks that the whites are still in control. The way they try to keep that control is by falsely accusing them of rape, murders, stealing, beating and etc. They used that so they could brake the confidence of blacks. To me that just slowed down the process of blacks being equal and actually hurt the whites. The more they lynched the blacks for something they were innocent, the people realized that the lynching was done for superiority. This is the reason why white guilt is present in the society, mainly in white people.

Word Count: 522


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