Truth-Telling: Frances Willard and Ida B. Wells

Postscript: Frances Willard

"Lynching and All Other Lawless Proceedings"

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 died in 1898 at the age of 58.

In response to pressure from Wells and public opinion, Willard did ensure that the national Woman's Christian Temperance Union 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. At the 1897 WCTU convention, the last one she attended before her death, she addressed the problem of lynching and called for federal action against it. Notably, she cited the statistics on lynching that Wells's work highlighted--including the fact that most lynchings were not related to "crimes against women."

However, Willard also asserted that most lynchings were committed by immigrants to the US, not by the "native" white population.

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