Southern Horrors and Other Writings Essay

This essay has a total of 985 words and 5 pages.

Southern Horrors and Other Writings



What is mob violence? Well, nowadays, mob violence differs in comparison to mob violence
in the nineteenth century. In the years following the Civil War, there was a lot of
mistreatment of African Americans. Ida B. Wells, a young African American journalist,
investigated and accounted for the violence acted upon the African Americans during the
Post-Reconstruction period. Wells wrote about her investigations because she belied it
was the "first step to tell the world the facts" and to make lynching "a crime against
American values"(27). In the book Southern Horrors and Other Writings, Royster discussed
the mob violence of the lower South and the steps that Wells took to end this violence.

During the nineteenth century, a lot of different acts of mob violence were done to the
African Americans in the South. Wells focused on lynching of African Americans by the
mob. The reasons given for lynching were "allegations of murder, burglary, arson,
poisoning water and livestock, insulting whites, being insolent, and other perceived
'offenses,' and sometimes they were lynched on no charges at all"(29). These reasons were
not very legitimate. The lynchings could have been handled in a different way as in a
court and jury, not by a mob. The mob violence really attacked the African Americans to a
point where they had no say in the doings. The people that were mistreated were men,
women, and children. Ida B. Wells reported in A Red Record that "during a single year,
1892, 241 men, women, and children across 26 states were lynched. Of the 241, 160 people
were identified as African Americans, which represented an increase of 200 percent over
the ten-year period since 1882"(10). This shows that at the time of Reconstruction,
violence toward African Americans increased rapidly.

Often, African Americans were lynched for odd reasons. Many African American men were
lynched for alleged rape of white women even though they had been in a relationship with
these women. Wells wrote that the "whites" excuse was that "Negroes had to be killed to
avenge their assaults upon women"(77-78). The press also said that "Negroes were like
"beasts" and had to be punished "quickly"(62). The punishment of "whites" compared to
African Americans at this time was not very comparable. The statistics showed that "more
than ten-thousand Negroes have been killed in cold blood, without judicial trial and only
three white men have been tried, convicted, and executed"(75-76). Basicly, the African
Americans were being killed by whites because the whites were upset that they were now
free and not their property. They did not want them to gain too much power of
independence.

Ida B. Wells did all she could to help the African Americans in dealing with the mob
violence during the nineteenth century. She took several steps to achieve her crusades to
end mob violence. Wells investigated lynchings, wrote newspaper articles and editorials,
spoke about mob violence, and joined organizations to prevent violence. First of all,
Wells had to "dismantle the stereotypes based on gender and race"(30). The stereotypes
said that the "white women were pure and innocent" but the "African American women were
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