Political action

For whatever reason Wells took the courage to speak against the government and all the whites for the lynching of the three, we cannot question the purity of her aim. Whether it was for her love of her friends or for the reason that the three were fellow Blacks, one thing is clear: Wells wanted justice. Her office was ransacked and burned after her writings and editorials were published. It was this event which made Ida realized that it was not good enough for them to stay at Memphis. Through her paper, she encouraged the black people to leave the town and go to place where racial discrimination is much less than at Memphis.

Quoting Wells in her article at the Free Speech in 1892, “There is therefore only one thing left to do; save our money and leave a town which will neither protect our lives and property, nor give us a fair trial in the courts, but takes us out and murders us in cold blood when accused by white persons. ” After that article, the Black community regarded Wells’ heed. Many of them left the town and migrated to racially tolerant areas. Others said to have boycotted the goods and businesses owned by the Whites. I would say that leaving Memphis was not the bravest decision Wells made but it was intelligent enough to save the lives of many Negros.

In her article, Ida made it clear that the Black community did not have enough resources, as with ammunitions to fight against the Whites. They too were outnumbered as the Whites were obviously the dominant race in the area. Further, it was not wise enough to sacrifice more lives for fighting for their rights in the land where they were not given the protection and the importance by the government. Wells then migrated to Chicago. The Black thorn in the throats of the Whites was not eliminated when Wells left Memphis.

She continued her fight for justice until she came up with a book entitled “Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All Its Phases” in the same year. It was the product of her investigative work relative to the lynching activities of the whites. It was in this paper where she openly admired the blacks who bravely set fires in Georgetown, Kentucky in July 1889. A group of black women helped her in the publication of The Reason Why the Colored American is Not in the World's Columbian Exposition in 1893 where she claimed to have sold 20,000 copies in the Chicago World’s Fair.

It must have been Chicago which gave Wells the opportunity to let her career flourish as she continued to be admired by many people around the world. History said she was the most-sought human rights and justice lecturer all over America. She also had lectures in Britain where she courageously and openly criticized the government of America for being tolerant of racial discrimination and especially lynching. In 1895, another paper entitled The Red Record, the first documented statistical report on lynching was published by Wells.

Ida Wells-Barnett, after marrying the publisher of the paper The Conservator in 1895 did very well in her writing and lecturing career. Her married life did not stop her from being active in helping the African-American community through her writings. She helped in the establishment and organization of African-American political and human rights organization and women leagues which all aimed at increasing awareness of the Black community of their rights as residents of America.

In 1909, Wells-Barnett lead the organization of National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Before that, Wells-Barnett served as the secretary of the National Afro-American Council from 1898-1902. The said council were organized primarily for handling the affairs of the Negro community especially in fighting against the cruelty of the lynching. Besides this, Wells-Barnett also served as the Chairman of the Anti-Lynching Bureau which is under the wing of the council. In 1910 Ida founded and became the first president of the Negro Fellowship League.

After years of lecturing, Wells-Barnett was able to discover that the Black citizens have little knowledge of the political rights, especially that of their right of suffrage. Using her knowledge and with the help of other women suffragists like Susan B. Anthony, she went out in the streets to march for universal suffrage. Her lectures were centered on explaining how women must exercise their rights of suffrage and how should this political right enable them to participate in the political affairs of the state.

In 1913 the Alpha Suffrage Club was organized by Well-Barnett with another woman suffragist, Bell Squire. The club was said to have been the largest black woman's suffrage club in the state. The club provided women, especially the Black community with forums which let them learn civic matter and topics relate to women empowerment. By 1915, Alpha Suffrage club had 200 members. For their efforts, the club was considered the “cornerstone of black female political action” (Hendricks, et. al. ).