Failures | Diets
Ida B. Wells vs. Frances Willard: Getting to the truth of a failure to fight racial injustice
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 which Willard had made racially charged statements that supported the racial violence of southern whites against African-Americans, and in which she called for only limited suffrage for blacks and new immigrants.
“During all the years prior to the agitation begun against Lynch Laws, in which years men, women and children were scourged, hanged, shot and burned, the W.C.T.U. had no work, either of pity or protest; its great heart, which concerns itself about humanity the world over, was, toward our cause, pulseless as a stone,” Wells wrote in The Red Record: Tabulated Statistics and Alleged Causes of Lynching in the United States, a pamphlet she published in 1895.
How Enslaved Africans Influenced American Diet
March 15, 2019, Voice of America News
Do you like to drink Coca-Cola? You can thank enslaved Africans. They brought the kola nut – one of the main parts of Coca-Cola – to what is now the United States. West Africans chewed the nut for its caffeine.
Enslaved Africans also brought watermelon, okra, yams, black-eyed peas and some peppers. These foods are commonly eaten in the U.S. today. They show how Africans forced into slavery -- beginning in the 1500s -- influenced the American diet.
Frederick Opie wrote a book about some of the foods that connect Africa and America. The book is called Hog and Hominy: Soul Food from Africa to America. Opie also teaches history at Babson College in Massachusetts.
He says, “If you know what people eat, you can find out where they’re from."
Opie explains that people who were bringing enslaved Africans to North America wanted to keep them alive and earn a profit. As a result, Africans on the slave ships were fed food they knew and liked. Those foods landed along with the people.
Opie explains that fruits and vegetables brought from Africa grew well in America. One reason is because enslaved Africans planted their own gardens to help feed themselves.