Myth, Fact & Truth: Ida B. Wells and American Lynching Reporting from 1890-1910

TriCollege Digital Repository

Title: Myth, Fact & Truth: Ida B. Wells and American Lynching Reporting from 1890-1910
Author: Harrison, Domenique
Advisor: Friedman, Andrew; Saler, Bethel
Department: Haverford College. Dept. of History
Type: Thesis (B.A.)
Issue Date: 2012
Abstract: In the late 19th to early 20th century, mob violence became a practice though that characterized the American community. The story of the lynching, accepted as an event involving black men, white men and white women, would be sensationalized and heavily detailed by southern and northern white journalists, respectively. But in the black community, journalism was deconstructed along the spectrum of the religious and the political. While each perspective offered an invested and community specific side of the lynching story, both white and black journalists don't reach the caliber of journalistic provocative truth that Ida B. Wells upholds. This thesis examines how Ida B. Wells, a journalistic visionary, defines mob mentality within Reconstruction history, stressed the myth of crime in the black community, and exposed America's lynching culture to the international community in the hopes of delegitimizing lynching from the American community. Through close analytical reading of a number of Wells' Free Speech and other newspaper articles, reprinted lectures, essays and pamphlets, as wells as newspaper articles from The Atlanta Constitution, The New York Times, The Christian Recorder and The Crisis, I discovered protested truths, concerns, and descriptive connotations of the lynching event. In comparing the detailed-oriented and nationalistic New York Times with The Atlanta Constitution, I defined their consistencies in line with the belief in the black criminal. In analyzing The Christian Recorder and The Crisis I developed the idea of the community as a condemned church or as a racially bias courtroom. While I describe Wells as the ultimate journalist creating a fear in the white community of lynching practice being politicized, unfortunately, the charisma, intellect and knowledge of an African American woman could not immediately detach the lynching event from community acceptance and implementation.
Subject: Lynching -- United States -- History -- 19th century
Subject: Wells-Barnett, Ida B., 1862-1931
Subject: African American women journalists -- Biography
Terms of Use:
Permanent URL:

Files in this item

Files Description Size Format
2012HarrisonD_thesis.pdf Thesis (Haverford Users Only) 1.026Mb PDF
2012HarrisonD_release.pdf **Archive Staff Only** 104.1Kb PDF


Harrison, Domenique. "Myth, Fact & Truth: Ida B. Wells and American Lynching Reporting from 1890-1910". 2012. Available electronically from

This item appears in the following Collection(s) Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as


Advanced Search


My Account