Ida B Wells 2 Essay Research Paper

Ida B. Wells 2 Essay, Research Paper

The Success of Ida B. Wells

One had better die fighting against injustice than die like

a dog or a rat in a trap.

- Ida B. Wells

Ida B. Wells was an important figure in Black American

History. She was born a slave in Mississippi in 1862.

Wells was able to gain an education and, later, became a

journalist for various Negro papers. Through her writing,

she was able to attack issues dealing with discrimination

against African-American people. Ida B. Wells became an

international activist for African-American rights when she

informed the English people about lynching in America. She

became a well-known lecturer, activist, and organizer in

American and in England. Wells established the Negro

Fellowship League, the Ida B. Wells Women s Club, the

National Association of Colored Women and was extremely

involved in other organizations for African-American


There were a few advantageous elements that helped

Wells success in her activist efforts. One being that

gender relations, of that time, were honorable within the

African-American community. Another advantage for Ida B.


Wells was her biological sex. Ida B. Wells fought hard in

her effort to secure America as a safe environment for

Blacks, but she managed to accomplish a remarkable amount of

her efforts due to various gender and sex related assets

which were in her favor.

One advantage Ida B. Wells was fortunate to claim was

that gender relations in the Black community were very

favorable. Due to the strenuous labor male and female

African-Americans had to endure during slavery, neither sex

proclaimed its opposite inferior and, therefore, Ida B.

Wells was able to make huge leaps within the

African-American community. For instance, Wells was able to

become an outstanding journalist, become editor and co-owner

of a Black newspaper, and Black men did not object to her

leadership in these occupations. Black men respected and

honored her work in the advancement of African-Americans,

instead of envying a woman for accomplishing these essential

tasks before a male exhibited her achievements. Black men,

unlike Whites of the time, were able to see past Wells sex

and support the work that she accomplished for all


Another aspect of this time period which proved to be

advantageous for Wells was the fact that she was female.

White America was not nearly as threatened by Black females

as the prejudiced fear Whites experienced of Black men.

Whites perceived Black men to be carnal, exceedingly virile


and dangerous to the White society. More successful Black

men were lynched than successful Black women. Black women

were not seen as a direct threat of the power roles in

society, therefore Wells was able to take many more risks

than any African-American male in her efforts to end the

lynchings and discrimination of Blacks. White males also

devalued Ida B. Wells work, because she was female. White

men found it difficult to believe that a woman could

accomplish very much, because of the way they perceived

women to be inferior beings. These prejudiced thoughts

actually helped Wells by giving her more space for progress

in her fight to end discrimination of African-Americans.

Being female also helped Wells identify with the White

community. She had the ability to fit into the

male-dominated America that still exists today. Wells was

able to ascertain the identity of a White female by dressing

and acting ladylike . Wells used class and gender for her

benefit. She maintained the stance of being educated,

attractive, and upper-class. This also made her seem as

less of a threat to the White America that believed

African-Americans were more like animals than human beings

and that White females were always under the control of

White males.

Although Ida B. Wells had gender relations and her

biological sex working on her side, she still had to face

the greatest evil of that time in American history. She had


to fight against one of the most hostile forms of prejudice

that has ever existed in this country. Ida B. Wells was a

woman who dramatically altered race relations in our country

and should be honored and respected as a phenomenal civil

rights activist. She kept hope alive in the

African-American history and motivated others to work just

as hard as she to guarantee a safe environment for all



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