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Postscript: Ida B. Wells
Crusade for JusticeIda B. Wells went on to have a long and productive career fighting for black civil rights and women’s suffrage. She was a co-founder of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and of a Chicago black women's suffrage organization, the Alpha Suffrage Club. Throughout her life, she wrote, lectured, and organized for civil rights and against lynching and segregation.
Wells often came into conflict with both white and black leaders both on issues of substance and due to her confrontational style. Wells's activism in the suffrage movement, especially, brought her into conflict with white women who expressed various degrees of personal racism and the use of racist tactics.
In 1913, for example, she attended a large women's suffrage march in Washington, DC. To appease the white Southern suffragists, the march's organizers had told the black attendees to march at the back of the parade. Wells defied the order--instead, she waited for the march to begin and then took her place with the rest of the Illinois delegation.
Between 1928 and her death in 1931, Wells wrote her autobiography, Crusade for Justice. Her daughter Alfreda M. Duster edited and published it in 1970.
"Miss Willard's Attitude"
In the autobiography, Wells reflected on her conflict with Willard. She had discussed it with the suffrage leader Susan B. Anthony, whom Wells called "a dear good friend." She had been staying with Anthony at her home in Rochester, New York in 1894, just after her return from England--in the thick of the conflict with Willard.
In their conversation, Wells wrote, Anthony drew parallels between her own embrace of "expediency" within the women's suffrage movement and Willard's choices. Wells wrote that Anthony "gave me rather the impression of a woman who was eager to hear all sides of any question"--an impression that contrasts with her opinion of Willard.
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Postscript: Frances Willard
The conflict between Willard and Wells had mostly subsided by 1896. In part this can be attributed to Willard’s failing health. She spent much of her time in England with her friend Lady Somerset, and would die shortly thereafter in 1898.
In response to pressure from Wells and public opinion, Willard did ensure that the national WCTU and many of its state chapters spoke out against lynching. The WCTU continued to pass anti-lynching resolutions until at least 1900—though the problem of lynching continued for many years after that. Lynching was only made a federal crime in December of 2018.
Willard’s views on race and immigration remained complicated, as her comments on lynching in her final presidential address at the convention of 1897 make clear. [this is blurry and should be rescanned]
Ida B. Wells went on to have a long and productive career fighting for black civil rights and women’s suffrage. She often came into conflict with both white and black leaders both on issues of substance and due to her confrontational style. Her activism in the suffrage movement especially brought her into conflict with white leaders who expressed various degrees of personal racism and the use of racist tactics. In 1913, she famously defied an order to march at the back of the women’s suffrage march in Washington, DC—instead slipping in with the rest of the Illinois delegation after the march began.
In her autobiography, written near the end of her life [date] and edited and published posthumously by her daughter Alfreda Duster in the 1970s [check spelling and date], Wells reflected on her conflict with Willard. She recounted a conversation she had with Susan B. Anthony in 1894 about the issue when she was staying with that suffrage leader after her return from England—the thick of the conflict with Willard. Willard and Anthony were themselves friends and allies.
[excerpts from her autobiography--need to see about permission to use this and get better quality images]