From 1882 to 1968, more than 4,700 people were lynched in the United States, most of them Black. They were lynched for attempting to vote. Lynched for seeming suspicious. Basically, it didn’t take much for a mob to deem the murder of a Black person necessary, and the lynching itself was often the white community’s idea of a good old-fashioned gathering.
Ida B. Wells, an investigative journalist and activist born in the South, used words to break down the myths that white people used to justify lynching and exposed the brutal practice for what it truly was – racial terrorism designed to spread fear and limit Black power.
Wells died less than a century ago. The importance of her research, organizing, and activism can’t be overstated, especially considering the profound and detrimental effect lynching has left on law enforcement, criminal justice, race relations, and Black lives in the United States.
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