Ida B. Barnett And Addams: Oral History And Historical Memory

1882 Words 8 Pages
Oral History and Historical Memory
Lynching: Injustice or Justified-Depending on Perspective
Sometimes, individual oral historical memory and historical events depicted in history as facts are different, depending on whose perspective is being studied. Thoughts on truth, by Per Robert Evans says that, “There are three sides to every story… My side, your side, and the truth, and no one believes they are lying… Memories serve each one differently.” I believe that this is also true in telling the stories of history. Ida B. Wells-Barnett and Jane Addams were both born during slavery, one born enslaved and the latter born free and they both have a view of history based on their experiences. Both were civil rights fighters, both women had historical
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Wells, and many other Black women civil rights fighters. However, Addams did not experience the same day-to-day perception nor interactions in the community, church, or home as Blacks, nor with Blacks. When it came to Black men and criminality, Ms. Addams openly acknowledged that she opposed lynching. Her opposition to lynching did not extend to Black men, it seemed that she believed it was what they deserved per their actions. In an article, she wrote in May 1901, Respect for Law, Ms. Addams “reiterated a folk belief among many whites that Black men had a predilection for licentiously accosting and violating white women… Lynching, therefore, was a response to the actions of Black men, albeit an inappropriate one.” Consequently, not understanding that her statement was based on erroneous information, Blacks interpreted her statement as implicit racism. That statement tied Ms. Addams to the events of lynching. Ms. Addams was a well-established woman of her community, a leader for women’s rights, and an upstanding leader in her social environment. Consequently, repeating the negative rhetoric idealism of her race, was an indication of her true belief about lynching and Black …show more content…
In studying U.S. History, the white race experiences’ will always be studied, showing their perceived supremacy, with righteous indication. Whereas, learning about non-white races one must take personal initiative to discover information on their race or take ethnic studies to learn about the experiences of their race. The personal accounts of lynching by Ida B. Wells-Barnett and Jane Addams, both enhanced and detracted from our understanding of the historical past. Ida B. Wells-Barnette accounts of lynching brought to life the truth about lynching, the truth of Black individual’s involvement, and the white culture reactions based on skin color. On the other hand, Jane Addams’s accounts of lynching exposed white’s truth about lynching that, if whites say it’s true, then it must be true, even if it’s an outright falsehood. Whites have always tried to control what “other races know about their own history by presenting only their part of an event such as lynching.” Personal accounts either enhance or detract from our understanding of the historical past depending on who’s perspective one is

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