On the Road: Anti-Lynching Lectures Around the U.S. and Abroad
In the 1890s, Ida B. Wells traveled throughout the United States and Great Britain, speaking out against the crime and terrorism of lynching.
Her two visits to Britain, in 1893 and 1894, in which she spoke to large crowds and met with prominent individuals, inspired the foundation of the London Anti-Lynching Committee, which was joined by chapters around England and the United States. The impact of her 1893 speech in Birmingham was acknowledged in 2019, when a commemorative plaque was placed at the site of the home in which she stayed in that city.
In 1895, Wells published The Red Record: Tabulated Statistics and Alleged Causes of Lynchings in the United States, which included all of her previous research on documented lynchings. Her speeches presented the facts she had gathered about lynchings, along with accounts of the devastation caused to families and communities.
Wells also appealed to businesses, wealthy individuals, and local governments to recognize the economic damage caused by lynchings, which she presented as a form of social anarchy, creating a terrorized workforce. She encouraged African Americans in the South to boycott unsupportive businesses, and to consider relocation to Northern and Midwestern states.
The campaign Ida B. Wells began against lynching prompted the passage of anti-lynching laws in some parts of the South, and a large drop in the number of documented lynchings, from 235 in 1892, to 107 in 1899.
The text of Ida B. Wells' "Lynch Law in All its Phases" an address given at Tremont Temple in the Boston Monday Lectureship on February 13th, 1898, is among many documents available in the Ida B. Wells Papers.