Mary Church Terrell was part of the middle/upper class fighters for racial equality. Both of her parents were former slaves but her father went on to become one of the South’s first black millionaires. She worked on anti-lynching campaigns with Ida B. Wells, but her philosophy was one of racial uplift, the idea that black people would help end racism by advancing themselves through work, education, and community engagement. This philosophy likely comes from her observations of her parents’ social mobility. Interestingly, she was friends with Susan B. Anthony, despite the latter’s various sentiments that expressed her dislike for black people and that she was against them getting the right to vote.
Ida B. Wells was born into slavery. She focused a lot on confronting white mob violence, which brought a lot of violence and threats of violence into her own life. Wells published pamphlets that said rape was an excuse frequently used to justify a lynching, where the real reasons were fear of black economic progress and attempts to keep black people in a second class status. She concluded that armed resistance might be the only way to defend against lynching. She was seen as “too radical” by Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Dubois.