Mary Church Terrell:
Born 1863, daughter of former slaves. Part of the rising black middle and upper class. Used her position to fight racial discrimination. In 1892 a personal friend of hers was lynched and this sparked her activism. Whilst she did join Ida B. Wells-Barnett’s anti-lynching campaigns, she focused on ‘racial uplift’ that black people could end racial discrimination by advancing through society in education, work, community activism. Focused on equal opportunities. In 1896 founded NACW (National Association of Colored Women). She believed she belong to the only group in the country that had two huge obstacles to surmount – her sex and her race. At age 86 she protested segregated eating facilities, and in 1953 the Supreme Court ruled that they were indeed unconstitutional.
Ida B. Wells-Barnett:
Born into slavery in Mississippi in 1862. Her parents both became politically active in the Reconstruction Era politics. She also highly valued education like Mary Church Terrell. She enrolled in college but was expelled after starting a dispute with the college president. She dedicated herself to investigate mob violence and lynchings, and published findings in pamphlets and newspaper columns. She started receiving threats that eventually drove her out of the South and she moved to Chicago.
Although Ida B. Wells focused more on lynching, there are similarities between these women. They were both devout Christians and justified their ideas with their strong faith. Terrell seemed to focus more on what they could do to better themselves within the system and fight it from the inside, whereas Wells attacked the system and wanted results.