Terrell was born in Memphis, Tennessee in 1863, and her parents were former slaves (Michals 2017). Growing up, her household was religious and conservative (Johnson 2019). She earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Oberlin College, and she joined the anti-lynhing campaign (Michals 2017). She later became president of the National Association of Colored Women (NACW) and campaigned for civil rights and women’s suffrage (Michals 2017). In “What is Means to be Colored in the Capital of the United States,” Terrel describes segregation and how African Americans were denied from going to certain theaters, going to universities, and almost every business. She talked about how African American women could not find any work and how they faced violence and assault if they entered certain places. Terrell focuses on how African American women walked around hungry without a place to stay. This is a different type of violence than Wells describes with lynching, but it is still violence because they were being denied certain rights. They were being denied rights to work, education, and even just entering a building. Segregation goes back to slavery and treating people differently and horribly based on the color of their skin. Terrell describes how “persecution based solely on the color of the skin appear[s] more hateful and hideous… in the capital of the United States” (212).
Wells was born in Mississippi in 1862 and was born into slavery (Norwood 2017). She was denied the right to sit in a train, and she campaigned against lynching (Norwood 2017). Her press was burned by the town, and she moved to Chicago where she continued to fight against lynching (Norwood 2017). She was very religious, and she used many religious parables in her arguments (Schechter 2001). In Southern Horrors, Wells describes lynching and how people were put to death for nothing. It happened throughout the history of the country and started again in the South. She describes how white women contribute to the killings. They could accuse an African American man of insulting or assaulting them, and the men would be put to death. Almost all the accusations did not have a basis, and the violence was caused by the public. The lynchings were publicized, and the public would treat it like entertainment. Wells describes how the lynchings are barbaric and are happening around the country. She talks about how the country and people turn a blind eye to the killings and how they need to be stopped.