Ida B. Wells Quotes

“Although lynchings have steadily increased in number and barbarity during the last twenty years, there has been no single effort put forth by the many moral and philanthropic forces of the country to put a stop to this wholesale slaughter.”

“Brave men do not gather by thousands to torture and murder a single individual, so gagged and bound he cannot make even feeble resistance or defense. “

“I came home every Friday afternoon, riding the six miles on the back of a big mule. I spent Saturday and Sunday washing and ironing and cooking for the children and went back to my country school on Sunday afternoon.”

“I had an instinctive feeling that the people who have little or no school training should have something coming into their homes weekly which dealt with their problems in a simple, helpful way… so I wrote in a plain, common-sense way on the things that concerned our people.”

“If this work can contribute in any way toward proving this, and at the same time arouse the conscience of the American people to a demand for justice to every citizen, and punishment by law for the lawless, I shall feel I have done my race a service. ”

“In fact, for all kinds of offenses – and, for no offenses – from murders to misdemeanors, men and women are put to death without judge or jury; so that, although the political excuse was no longer necessary, the wholesale murder of human beings went on just the same.”

“No nation, savage or civilized, save only the United States of America, has confessed its inability to protect its women save by hanging, shooting, and burning alleged offenders. ”

“Our country’s national crime is lynching. It is not the creature of an hour, the sudden outburst of uncontrolled fury, or the unspeakable brutality of an insane mob.”

“Somebody must show that the Afro-American race is more sinned against than sinning, and it seems to have fallen upon me to do so. ”

“The Afro-American is not a bestial race. ”

“The Afro-American is thus the backbone of the South. ”

“The alleged menace of universal suffrage having been avoided by the absolute suppression of the negro vote, the spirit of mob murder should have been satisfied and the butchery of negroes should have ceased. ”

“The appeal to the white man’s pocket has ever been more effectual than all the appeals ever made to his conscience.”

“The city of Memphis has demonstrated that neither character nor standing avails the Negro if he dares to protect himself against the white man or become his rival. ”

“The mob spirit has grown with the increasing intelligence of the Afro-American. ”

“The negro has suffered far more from the commission of this crime against the women of his race by white men than the white race has ever suffered through his crimes. ”

“The nineteenth century lynching mob cuts off ears, toes, and fingers, strips off flesh, and distributes portions of the body as souvenirs among the crowd. ”

“The only times an Afro-American who was assaulted got away has been when he had a gun and used it in self-defense. ”

“The people must know before they can act, and there is no educator to compare with the press. ”

“The South is brutalized to a degree not realized by its own inhabitants, and the very foundation of government, law and order, are imperilled. ”

“One had better die fighting against injustice than die like a dog or a rat in a trap.”
“Somebody must show that the Afro-American race is more sinned against than sinning, and it seems to have fallen upon me to do so.”
“The strong arm of the law must be brought to bear upon lynchers in severe punishment, but this cannot and will not be done unless a healthy public sentiment demands and sustains such action.”
“The Afro-American is thus the backbone of the South.”
“The white man’s dollar is his god, and to stop this will be to stop outrages in many localities.”
“The people must know before they can act, and there is no educator to compare with the press.”
“There is nothing we can do about the lynching now, as we are out-numbered and without arms.”
“Brave men do not gather by thousands to torture and murder a single individual, so gagged and bound he cannot make even feeble resistance or defense.”
“In slave times the Negro was kept subservient and submissive by the frequency and severity of the scourging, but, with freedom, a new system of intimidation came into vogue; the Negro was not only whipped and scourged; he was killed.”
“The alleged menace of universal suffrage having been avoided by the absolute suppression of the negro vote, the spirit of mob murder should have been satisfied and the butchery of negroes should have ceased.”
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