Safi El-Gamal: Unit 4 Assignment 1

As the first president, (and later honorary president for life), of the National Association of Colored Women, Mary Church Terrell heavily advocated for the right of African American Women in the South.  She sought equal rights for blacks, repealed Jim Crow legislation, and improved working standards for black women.  Her activism was sparked in 1892 when one of her friends, Thomas Moss, was lynched with white business competitors.  She began to advocate for racial equality through a “lifting as we climb” approach, as she believed that blacks could obtain equality through advancing in business.  She saw that blacks could not sink down to the level of violence the surrounding white population perpetrated on them, and instead would have to raise in the ranks of power to be able to create a substantial amount of change.  Blacks would have to earn the respect of whites in order to stop anti-black surges of violence.  Ida B. Wells, however, had a very different approach in her response to anti-black violence.  Similar to Terrell, her advocacy sparked when three of her friends were lynched in Tennessee, but she began her crusade against violence fearlessly to expose the violence against the blacks.  She began her journalism career writing for several black newspapers using investigative information in her exposes.  Her rather direct approach triggered much attention from the white audience, but she stood firm in her belief for women’s suffrage and racial equality.  Both Terrell and Wells began their advocacy with a close friend’s lynching; however, their approaches were quite different to reaching racial equality different in the extent of how direct they were.  Neither approach was incorrect, but I thought it was interesting how different their approaches were coming from such a similar experience that sparked their advocacy.

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