Truth-Telling: Frances Willard and Ida B. Wells

Other Responses

Other Responses

After the reprinting of Frances Willard's 1890 interview in Fraternity magazine, and the exchange between Willard and Wells published in the Westminster Gazette, the conflict between the two reformers attracted international attention and comment. The page below showcases two responses: one, from a white Woman's Christian Temperance Union leader who defended Willard, and another, from the black president of a Chicago anti-lynching organization who demanded an explanation for Willard's comments.

Miss Hood's Protest

Helen L. Hood was president of the Illinois state WCTU, and was also staying in London at the time. This column appeared in the Chicago Inter-Ocean, the same newspaper that was publishing Ida B. Wells's dispatches from England, in June 1894. Hood deplored Wells's comments as personal attacks on Frances Willard, and she said that Wells showed "extreme race hatred" against American whites.


Hot After Miss Willard

The Rev. Dr. J.M. Townsend, a black minister in Chicago, was president of a recently-organized Anti-Lynching League. Such groups had begun to form as Ida B. Wells's campaign brought more attention to the issue. The article below reports on a letter from Townsend and the League demanding an explanation from Willard of her comments.

The article also quotes the black poet James D. Corrothers, who was secretary of the Anti-Lynching League. Corrothers defended Willard, saying that in 1890, at the same time as she had made the comments in the Voice interview, she had also been paying for his education. He felt she must have been "misrepresented."

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