Ida B. Wells and Mary Church Terrell were fearless black women who used their respective positions in society (Wells as a journalist, and Terrell as one of the few elite black women in America) to advocate for issues pertaining to gender and racial equality. While Wells focused much of her work on the physical manifestations of racism, Terrell spent much of her social capital attempting to permeate white organizations and structures due to her belief in racial uplift, or the idea that black people could end their own oppression through education, socialization, and work within their local communities. Though these two issues might appear to be separate, they both stem from the same vicious systematic and institutionalized racism that pervaded- and still pervades- America. Wells’ and Terrell’s writing demonstrates that no matter how racism manifests itself, its effects can be equally pernicious to black Americans and their opportunities to live equally.
Wells and Terrell also did not stop at merely standing for their equality; they both created exclusively black organizations and actively challenged their white counterparts in order to ascertain that their skin color would not affect the way they were treated even within activist communities, demonstrating the significance of intersectionality.