Ida B. Wells Begins Anti-Lynching Campaign Timelines: Catto Postscript

Ida B. Wells begins her anti-lynching campaign. Born in 1862, Wells spent considerable time on her lecture circuit in Philadelphia working on her anti-lynching campaign and forging alliances in the black community. This year, while in Philadelphia, her office at the Free Speech and Headlight was destroyed by a white mob, seeking to intimidate her. Lynchings of both black men and women in the United States rose in number after the Civil War, following the emancipation. It is estimated that over 3,445 blacks were lynched between 1882 and 1965 with most occurring before 1937. Lynchings also began appearing in the North during the Great Migration of blacks into Northern areas.  Among these was the lynching of Zachariah Walker in 1911 in Coatesville, just outside of Philadelphia. Walker’s lynching was a “spectacle lynching”, witnessed by nearly 5,000 people. The political message was the promotion of white supremacy and black powerlessness. An important element of the ritual included photographing and publishing lynchings that were sold as popular souvenirs throughout the U.S.

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