What is the main idea in chapter 1 of Ida B. Wells-Barnett's book The Red Record?

Chapter 1 of Ida B. Wells-Barnett's book The Red Record, "The Case Stated," has two purposes. First, it demonstrates why it is important to document lynching and, second, it documents the three excuses that White people have used to justify anti-Black violence. These excuses are the threat of Black insurrection, the threat of Black "domination" through electoral politics, and the threat of sexual violence by Black men against White women. The excuses change, but lynching remains the same.

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Chapter 1, "The Case Stated," gives Wells-Barnett's reasons for publishing the details of lynching and also her understanding of why lynching takes place. These two themes are closely related. Lynching, for Wells-Barnett, is an extension of the anti-Black violence that has been woven into the fabric of US society through centuries of slavery. "Beginning with the emancipation of the Negro," she writes,

the inevitable result of unbridled power exercised for two and a half centuries, by the white man over the Negro, began to show itself in acts of conscienceless outlawry. During the slave regime, the Southern white man owned the Negro body and soul. It was to his interest to dwarf the soul and preserve the body.

After slavery, the violence that had previously been restrained by white masters' economic interests was no longer restrained and, inevitably, emerged in full force. The result was mob violence against Black individuals and communities, which persisted through the second half of the...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 565 words.)

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