Unit 4 Post 1: Preston Ito

Mary Church Terrell

  • Born on September 23, 1863 and died in 1954
  • Daughter of former slaves
    • Father, Robert Reed Church, was one of the South’s first African American millionaires
    • Mother, Louisa Ayres Church, was owned a hair salon
    • Parents divorced early in her childhood
  • African American activist
  • Conservative & religious household
  • Graduated from Oberlin College with a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree
    • Parents valued education
  • Activism started after her friend, Thomas Moss, got lynched in 1892
    • Joined Ida B. Wells-Barnett’s anti-lynching campaigns
  • Believed that African Americans could end racial injustice by uplifting themselves through education, work, and community activism
    • “Lifting as we climb”
  • Founded and became president of NACW (National Association for Colored Women)


Ida B. Wells

  • Born on July 16, 1862 and died in March 25, 1931
  • Parents instilled a strong Christian conscience in her
    • Highly motivated through Christian ideals
    • Racial injustice didn’t follow Christian values
  • Brought awareness to African American treatment in the South through journalism and activism
  • Born a slave in Mississippi during Civil War
  • When Civil War ended, parents became politically active
  • Dropped out of Rust College, a black liberal arts college affiliated with the United Methodist Church
  • Lost both of her parents and a brother to yellow fever
    • Got a job as a teacher to support herself and her siblings
  • Focused on white mob violence, investigating several cases
    • Publication of these cases sparked threats toward her, causing her to move from Memphis to Chicago
  • Confronted white suffragettes about ignoring lynching
    • Wells was often ostracized by suffrage organizations
  • Helped found NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People)



Mary Church Terrell and Ida B. Wells were civil rights activists with different ideas for achieving equality. Terrell put more of an emphasis on “uplifting” African Americans while Wells focused on fixing the way white people treated African Americans. That being said, they both were obviously working towards a common goal: racial equality with a focus on women’s rights. They had similar means of achieving this goal through activism and journalism. Both Wells and Terrell joined and founded organizations that advocated for civil rights, including the NAACP and the NACW. While Wells and Terrell both focused on women’s rights, Wells did more in confronting the white women who ignored lynching. Wells became somewhat of an enemy towards white women while Terrell was advocating for all women. All of this racial injustice has been deeply rooted in America’s history for as long as settlers arrived. Right from the start, white people believed in their superiority over everyone else, giving them the mindset that it was acceptable for them to completely take over every aspect of another’s life. As for a proposed solution, Terrell believed the path to success was through African Americans themselves, meaning that they get an education, job, and spend time advocating for their rights. Wells’ solution was slightly different, focusing more on the wrongdoing of white people and attacking the attacker rather than helping the victim.

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