Oxford AASC: Photo Essay

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PHOTO ESSAY

Jim Crow Justice

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Antilynching Women

Courtesy of the Library of Congress, NAACP Collection; photograph by M. Smith.

Wells-Barnett was also instrumental in organizing other black women and helping to found the National Association of Colored Women (NACW) in 1896. The NACW argued that negative stereotypes of African Americans, especially of women, served to justify rape and lynching. Redeeming the image of black womanhood and dispelling the myth of the black rapist was for many black clubwomen the first step in eradicating sexual and racial violence. Focusing on morality, education, and temperance, the NACW created antilynching committees at the local and national levels and made a special point of publicizing lynching and violence against black women. In 1899 Pauline E. Hopkins, a Boston journalist, published an antilynching novel titled Contending Forces. By 1908, Mary Church Terrell was delivering antilynching lectures, calling for white support and demanding federal protection against rape and lynching. In 1922, black clubwomen under the leadership of Mary B. Talbert formed the Antilynching Crusaders in partnership with the NAACP. This photograph shows women of Harlem crusading against lynching. Their sashes read, "Buy an antilynching button. NAACP. "

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