They Say: Ida B. Wells and the Reconstruction of Race, by James W. Davidson. Ida B. Wells as a parallel to African Americans trying to gain empowerment in post-emancipation America

1409 Words Dec 16th, 2008 6 Pages
Lana Cox

History 121

Professor Adejumobi

November 7, 2008

Critical Book Review


By James West Davidson

Ida B. Wells, an African-American woman, and feminist, shaped the image of empowerment and citizenship during post-reconstruction times. The essays, books, and newspaper articles she wrote, instigated the dialogue of race struggles between whites and blacks, while her personal narratives, including two diaries, a travel journal, and an autobiography, recorded the personal struggle of a woman to define womanhood during post-emancipation America. The novel, _THEY SAY: IDA B. WELLS AND THE RECONSTRUCTION OF RACE_ , provides an insight into how Ida B. Wells's life paralleled that of
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She talked about how the act of lynching was a racist strategy to eliminate black men by means of racism. Ida B. Wells was also outspoken about the charges of rape against African-American men. Ida B. Wells believed that these charges were trying to hide the consensual relations between white women and African-American men. Whites were so shocked and infuriated by these allegations that they destroyed her newspaper office while Wells was away and dared her to return to Memphis. Not intimidated by any of the white men's threats, Wells kept a gun in her house and advised that guns should be kept in the homes of all African-Americans during that time, as a means for protection.

Ida B. Wells also bought an interest in the _New York Age_ and wrote two weekly columns entitled "Iola's Southern Field," and kept increasing her oral and written campaign against lynching mainly through lectures and editorials. Some of these works by Ida B. Wells include _Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All Its Phases_; _A Red Record: Tabulated Statistics and Alleged Causes of Lynching in the United States_; and _Mob Rule in New Orleans_ (1900). In all of these works, Wells argues and contemplates the economic and political causes of racial oppression and injustices. In her writing she analyzes racist sexual tensions, and explains the relationship between terrorists and community leaders, and urges African-Americans to resist oppression through boycotts and emigration. Her