Southern Horrors (Mint Editions (Black Narratives))
Southern Horrors (1892) is a pamphlet by Ida B. Wells. Published several months after a white mob destroyed the office of her prominent Memphis newspaper, the Free Speech, Southern Horrors is an impassioned work of investigative journalism and political criticism from a leading activist of the nineteenth century. "Nobody in this section of the country believes the old thread-bare lie that Negro men rape white women. If Southern white men are not careful, they will overreach themselves and public sentiment will have a reaction; a conclusion will then be reached which will be very damaging to the moral reputation of their women." After publishing these words in a May 1892 edition of the Memphis Free Speech, Ida B. Wells left for a brief vacation in New York-no doubt inspired by the numerous threats made against her life at the time. In her absence, a mob of white men destroyed the newspaper's office, leaving no trace of her extensive research on the last half century of violence perpetrated against African Americans in the name of white supremacy. Undeterred, Wells published Southern Horrors just months later, combining personal reflections on the incident with daring investigative reporting on the widespread practice of lynching in the American South.
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