UNIT 4 POST 1 Jack Lyons

Terrell appears to be associated with the Methodist church and to be of a religiously conservative background. She refers to a kind of exclusionary violence: the violence of Jim Crow. “As a colored woman I may enter more than one white church
in Washington without receiving that welcome which as a human being I have a right”, “Unless I am willing to engage in a few menial occupations… there is no
way for me to earn an honest living”. All these refer to a kind of blindness, or refusal to acknowledge black people, in particular women, as human beings who are entitled to their rights as such. Moreover, Terrell understands the lack of hope in education that so many black youths have. To her, this is the greatest impediment second only to the outright oppression of Jim Crow. Perhaps she hints that reforming this attitude is a solution to their situation. As for Ida B. Wells, there appears to be a religious rooting for her belief in equal rights as well and, as seen after doing some cursory research, she became a writer and editor for the black-owned newspaper The Free Speech and Headlight, which was based out of a Baptist church. The violence Ida B. Wells confronts is the violence of lynching, which is responsible for the “inhuman butchery of more than ten thousand men, women, and children by shooting, drowning, hanging, and burning them alive”. This is a much more tangible violence, perhaps. A violence which is easily quantified and impossible for any person with a semblance of moral consciousness to ignore. Moreover, this lynching finds its so-called ‘justification’ in the necessity “to prevent crimes against women.” Of course, this means only white women and it entails a demonization of black men as a result. Wells also asserts that “The negro has suffered far more from the commission of this crime against the women of his race by white men than the white race has ever suffered through his crimes”, pointing at the hypocrisy and fallacious justification for this heinous crime. Wells also seems pessimistic about the situation, stating that “there has been no single effort… to put a stop to this wholesale slaughter… the silence and seeming condonation grow more marked as the years go by.” Overall, she urges for repeated exposure of these crimes by the press in order to make lynching a reality that cannot be ignored.

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