A historian presents the first full-length biography of the black woman crusader for racial justice and women's rights in the period after Reconstruction, detailing her efforts to eliminate lynching and her complicated relationship with the feminists of the time. UP. - (Baker & Taylor)
Describes the life of the Black woman journalist who conducted a lifelong crusade for racial justice and women's rights in the period after Reconstruction - (Baker & Taylor)
In the generation that followed Frederick Douglass, no African American was more prominent, or more outspoken, than Ida B. Wells. Her crusade against lynching in the 1890s made her famous, or notorious, across America, and she was seriously considered as a rival to W.E.B. Du Bois and Booker T. Washington for race leadership. This book is the first full biography of Wells, a passionate crusader for black people and women--and one who was sometimes torn by her conflicting loyalties to race and gender.
Wells' career began amidst controversy when she sued a Tennessee railroad company for ousting her from a first class car, a legal battle which launched her lifelong committment to journalism and activism. In the 1890s, Wells focused her eloquence on the horrors of lynching, exposing it as a widespread form of racial terrorism. Backing strong words with strong actions, she lectured in the States and abroad, arranged legal representation for black prisoners, hired investigators, founded antilynching leagues, sought recourse from Congress, and more. Wells was an equally forceful advocate for women's rights, but parted ways with feminist allies who would subordinate racial justice to their cause. She perpetually walked a tightrope between being an agitator and behaving like a "lady"--a designation prized by black women too often denigrated and exploited by white men. Using diary entries, letters, and published writings, McMurry illuminates Wells's fiery personality, and the uncompromising approach that sometimes lost her friendships even as it won great victories.
To Keep the Waters Troubled is an unforgettable account of a remarkable woman and the and the times she helped to change. - (Oxford University Press)
Antithetical to the Victorian image of women during her lifetime (which black women weren't allowed to achieve at any rate), Wells began her rebellious career by suing a railroad company for ousting her from a train when she refused to move from the first-class section. McMurry uses Wells' lively and revealing letters and editorials to portray a spirited woman who fought racial and sexual injustices. Wells crusaded against lynchings, which she identified with attempts to intimidate black men, noting that there were few lynchings before Emancipation. Throughout her career, Wells struggled with balancing the priorities of fighting racism or sexism. She was active in founding the NAACP and worked with a range of black and woman's rights advocates, including W. E. B. DuBois, Marcus Garvey, Susan B. Anthony, and Jane Addams. Wells struggled with the contradiction of Victorian mores that fragile women needed the care and protection of men and the reality that black women needed to be strong and independent in the face of virulent racism and sexism. In this illuminating biography, McMurry notes Wells' apt description of herself as the "disturbing element which keeps the waters troubled." ((Reviewed December 1, 1998)) Copyright 2000 Booklist Reviews