Smart Girl Stories

The Red Record – By Ida B. Wells

The Red Record by Ida B. Wells is a pioneering, yet little-known book about racial violence and prejudice in America during the late 19th century. Following the murders of three African American friends in 1892, Wells set out to expose the injustices of lynching, or the public hanging of people accused of committing a crime without due process of law.

In her remarkable work, Wells analyzes data and testimonies from multiple sources to demonstrate how racism fuels mob violence and that lynching was used as a tool to keep African Americans subordinated. She traces this practice back as far as the Reconstruction era, when white supremacists conspired to keep African Americans from being able to vote or serve on juries. In doing so, Wells reveals how state governments have always had an interest in aiding racial terror.

Wells also shines a critical light on how newspapers at the time reported these events inaccurately—often ignoring or painting victims in less than favorable lights—and appealed directly to President Grover Cleveland for justice. His tepid and noncommittal response is indicative of much larger societal problems that prevail today: treating marginalized communities as second-class citizens unworthy of protection or respect under the law.

At its core, The Red Record is a timely reminder that our nation has yet to come to terms with its long history of racial injustice and inequality—proving that without justice there can be no true freedom. This book invites readers into one brave woman’s fight against hatred, fear, and apathy—provoking us all to continue striving towards creating a better world for everyone.

If you have read this book, please tell us more about it. Links to buy the book are down below. Thank you for reading!

Hannah

Hannah

Founder, Smart Girl, Survivor, Champion of womens rights and kids rights

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