Truth-Telling: Frances Willard and Ida B. Wells

The WCTU and Lynching, 1894

The Annual Convention

After a summer of (for Willard) unwelcome press attention, Willard and Wells met for a second time at the WCTU's annual convention, held in November of 1894 in Cleveland, Ohio.

In her annual President's Address, Willard mentioned the controversy and criticized Wells. However, she also called for the convention to pass an anti-lynching resolution.

However, the actual resolution that the convention approved was quite different from the one she proposed:

So what happened? In a statement quoted by Florence Balgarnie in the below pamphlet, Massachusetts WCTU president Susan Fessenden gave her account.

[Waiting on this to be scanned but the gist is that Fessenden was in the resolutions committee, proposed an anti-lynching resolution similar to the one that had passed the previous year, there was an outcry from the Southern delegates, she left the meeting room, came back that afternoon and was told that something substantially similar had been passed, then got to the floor and realized that was not the case but it was too late to do anything.]

The Aftermath

[this section could be made a new page if there's too much content on this one]

Wells took advantage of her other speaking engagements in Cleveland to respond to Willard's comments. The below excerpt is from an article about a speech she gave in a Cleveland AME Church the following week.

The city's black newspaper, the Cleveland Gazette, also took Wells's side.

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