Why did Ida Wells-Barnett begin a one-woman crusade of lecturing, writing and organizing ?

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Ida B. Wells (also known as Ida B. Wells-Barnett), began a one-woman crusade because of the fact that lynching was a major problem in the South.  We can attribute her crusade to two main things.

First, we can attribute her crusade to the fact that there were a rather large number of lynchings in the South in the late 1800s and early 1900s.  For example, in 1894, 197 people were lynched in the United States.  These killings were largely carried out in the South.  This meant that many African Americans were being killed by mobs of white people who did not have any legal right to do so.  This, in itself, was an outrageous situation.

Second, Wells’s crusade came about because of a more personal reason.  A number of her friends from Memphis, Tennessee were lynched.  Their lynching came about because of an economic dispute that arose from their store competing with white storeowners.  When Wells wrote an editorial denouncing the killings, a white mob destroyed the offices of her newspaper.  Because of this, Wells came to have a personal reason to crusade against lynching.

Thus, Ida B. Wells began her crusade both for personal reasons and because of the prevalence of lynching in general in the South at that time.