Leslie Harris and Lori Osborne, March 11, 2019, The Chicago Sun-Times
The failure of the early Women’s Movement to incorporate black voices was glaringly obvious in the clash between two Chicago-area titans of women’s history: Ida B. Wells and Frances Willard.
Under Willard’s leadership, the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union increasingly became an advocate for broad social as well as political change. However, in 1894 and 1895, Willard and anti-lynching activist Wells fought a war of words in the international press that leaders of today’s movements for equality would do well to bear in mind.
Frustrated that white reformers such as Willard failed to stand with her against the terrible violence being perpetrated by lynch mobs against blacks in the South, Wells publicly called Willard to account. She convinced an English newspaper to reprint a previously published interview in whic…