Poke around and see what you can find out about Mary Church Terrell and Ida B. Wells, including any information about their respective religious affiliations/backgrounds. Terrell described one kind of violence: Wells, another. Based on each woman’s comments, can you discern common roots for these different expressions of violence? How do women (black and white) constitute the particular focus of both Terrell and Wells? Do Terrell and Wells propose responses or solutions to anti-black violence?
Ida B Wells was raised in the Catholic denomination of Christianity and uses her religious to pride commentary on the lynchings that occurred during the Jim Crow era of American history. She refers to the lynchings as a calculated, deliberate act carried out by intelligent people who “avow that there is an unwritten law that justifies them putting human beings to death…” This is a form of institutionalized violence as well as symbolic, and normalized violence. These were meant to keep African Americans in a state of fear, in an attempt to prevent them from rising in the societal hierarchy. Mary Church Terrell, a member of the Methodist Episcopalian denomination of Christianity, speaks on a form of structural violence that also becomes a normalized form of violence. Terrell specifically speaks of the discrimination that highly and in most cases, overqualified African Americans faced in the occupational sphere. This structural violence was applied simply based on the single drop ideology which states that if one contains a single drop of African blood then they are considered Black. A race that could not be employed in white institutions due to the backlash that those institutions would face from their respective intended audience. These two forms of discrimination are similar in the fact that they were both used as tools to not only oppress Black people but also to reinforce the inferiority that they believed was inherent in being African American. Both women also comment on how those forms of discrimination affected the African American community stating that they simply became a fact and that black people should just accept it. This acceptance is what makes these acts of oppression a form of normalized violence because the black community eventually internalized the toxic environment that they were placed in. While they describe these daily occurrences of time, they do not provide possible solutions to the violence, almost as if they too have internalized the normativity of them.