African American Collection: Campaign Against Racial Violence


In the late 19th-century Memphis, Tennessee, newspaper publisher Ida B. Wells began a campaign against lynching after three successful businessmen and friends, Thomas Henry Moss Sr., Calvin McDowell, and William Stewart, were lynched by a White mob after hostile encounters occurred between White and Black men around the grocery store that they owned. In addition to the killings of Moss, McDowell, and Stewart, Wells’s newspaper office was firebombed, and personal threats were made against her. Fortunately, Wells was not in town at the time and never returned to Memphis because of the threats made upon her life. Instead, she moved to New York and eventually Chicago all the while continuing her journalistic attack against lynching.

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