Ida B. Wells: “Lynch Law in America”

(1900)

“Lynch Law in America” appeared in the January 1900 issue of Arena, a Boston-based magazine with a broad audience of white Progressives and former abolitionists. “Lynch Law in America” sums up the arguments of the nation’s leading antilynching activist of the late nineteenth century, Ida B. Wells-Barnett. In this article, she discusses the misinformation about lynching that has deceived the public, and she provides counterevidence that reveals the real motivations and gruesome practices that lynching entails. Her article makes an urgent appeal for white Americans to reassess the wave of antiblack violence across the country and consider its implications for America’s international standing and devotion to the rule of law.

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Harper's Weekly illustration of lynching and its collaborators (Library of Congress)

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