Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Ida B. Wells-Barnett: “Our Women”...

The following is an article written by Ida B. Wells-Barnett. This article offers very revealing insights into her thoughts and feelings about the issues concerning Black leadership and gender equality of her day, many of which still affect us to this day! Her peers often cited Ida as being a brilliant writer but a dangerous revolutionary and foe in terms of her philosophies and straightforwardness in which she presented them. You decide. Ida’s pen or nick name was Iola. (This article and more can also be found reprinted in the Memphis Diary of Ida B. Wells a book which I highly recommend anyone interested in Ida, Black History, U.S. History and the U.S. Civil Rights Movement read. If you want to access some of Ida's powerful works of writing online for free click here.
Bro. R2

“Our Women”
New York Freeman, January 1, 1887
(Reprinted from the Memphis Scimitar)

Dr. Georgia E.L. Patton (1864-1900), Memphis,Tn: Ex- Slave & The First Licensed Black Woman Doctor in the state of Tennessee

Among the many things that have transpired to dishearten the Negroes in their effort to attain a level in the status of civilized races, has been the wholesale contemptuous defamation of their women. Unmindful of the fact that our enslavement with all the evils attendant thereon was involuntary and that enforced poverty, ignorance and immorality was our only dower at its close, there are writers who have nothing to give the world in their disquisitions on the Negroes, save a rehearsal of their worthlessness, immorality, etc.

While all these accusations, allowed as we usually are, no opportunity to refute them, are hurtful to and resented by us, none sting so deeply and keenly as the taunt of immorality; the jest and sneer with which our women are spoken of, and the utter incapacity or refusal to believe there are among us mothers, wives and maidens who have attained a true, noble, and refining womanhood. There are many such all over this Southland of ours, and in our own city they abound. It is this class who, learning of the eloquent plea in defense of, and the glowing tribute paid Negro womanhood, by G.P.M. Turner in the speech he delivered in the Bowden case, return him their heartfelt thanks and assure him as a gentleman, a lawyer and a far seeing economist is inexpressible. Our race is no exception to the rest of humanity, in its susceptibility to weakness, nor is it any consolation for us to know that the nobility of England and the aristocratic circles of our own country furnish parallel examples of immorality. We only wish to be given the same credit for our virtues that others receive, and once the idea gains ground that worth is respected, from whatever source it may originate, a great incentive to good morals will have been given. For what you have done in that respect accept the sincere thanks of the virtuous colored women of this city.

See Also...

A Powerful And Wise Voice From Beyond The Grave: Ida B. Wells-Barnett On The "Functions of Leadership”

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