41+ Best Ida B. Wells Quotes: Exclusive Selection

Ida Bell Wells-Barnett was an American investigative journalist, educator, and an early leader in the civil rights movement. She was one of the founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Profoundly inspirational Ida B. Wells quotes will challenge the way you think, and help guide you through any life experience.

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Famous Ida B. Wells Quotes

If this work can contribute in any way toward proving this, and at the same time arouse the conscience of the American people to a demand for justice to every citizen, and punishment by law for the lawless, I shall feel I have done my race a service. – Ida B. Wells

The city of Memphis has demonstrated that neither character nor standing avails the Negro if he dares to protect himself against the white man or become his rival. – Ida B. Wells

The way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth upon them. – Ida B. Wells

One had better die fighting against injustice than die like a dog or a rat in a trap. – Ida B. Wells

The negro has suffered far more from the commission of this crime against the women of his race by white men than the white race has ever suffered through his crimes. – Ida B. Wells

The alleged menace of universal suffrage having been avoided by the absolute suppression of the negro vote, the spirit of mob murder should have been satisfied and the butchery of negroes should have ceased. – Ida B. Wells

No nation, savage or civilized, save only the United States of America, has confessed its inability to protect its women save by hanging, shooting, and burning alleged offenders – Ida B. Wells

I honestly believe I am the only woman in the United States who ever traveled throughout the country with a nursing baby to make political speeches. – Ida B. Wells

Our country’s national crime is lynching. It is not the creature of an hour, the sudden outburst of uncontrolled fury, or the unspeakable brutality of an insane mob. – Ida B. Wells

The South is brutalized to a degree not realized by its own inhabitants, and the very foundation of government, law and order, are imperilled. – Ida B. Wells

The only times an Afro-American who was assaulted got away has been when he had a gun and used it in self-defense. – Ida B. Wells

The South resented giving the Afro-American his freedom, the ballot box and the Civil Rights Law. – Ida B. Wells

There is nothing we can do about the lynching now, as we are out-numbered and without arms. – Ida B. Wells

Lynching is color line murder. – Ida B. Wells

I had an instinctive feeling that the people who have little or no school training should have something coming into their homes weekly which dealt with their problems in a simple, helpful way… so I wrote in a plain, common-sense way on the things that concerned our people. – Ida B. Wells

I came home every Friday afternoon, riding the six miles on the back of a big mule. I spent Saturday and Sunday washing and ironing and cooking for the children and went back to my country school on Sunday afternoon. – Ida B. Wells

Thus lynch law held sway in the far West until civilization spread into the Territories and the orderly processes of law took its place. The emergency no longer existing, lynching gradually disappeared from the West. – Ida B. Wells

The people must know before they can act, and there is no educator to compare with the press. – Ida B. Wells

There must always be a remedy for wrong and injustice if we only know how to find it. – Ida B. Wells

I felt that one had better die fighting against injustice than to die like a dog or rat in a trap. I had already determined to sell my life as dearly as possible if attacked. I felt if I could take one lyncher with me, this would even up the score a little bit. – Ida B. Wells

Those who commit the murders write the reports. – Ida B. Wells

I am only a mouthpiece through which to tell the story of lynching and I have told it so often that I know it by heart. I do not have to embellish; it makes its own way. – Ida B. Wells

In slave times the Negro was kept subservient and submissive by the frequency and severity of the scourging, but, with freedom, a new system of intimidation came into vogue; the Negro was not only whipped and scourged; he was killed. – Ida B. Wells

The appetite grows for what it feeds on. – Ida B. Wells

The appeal to the white man’s pocket has ever been more effectual than all the appeals ever made to his conscience. – Ida B. Wells

A Winchester rifle should have a place of honor in every black home. – Ida B. Wells

Somebody must show that the Afro-American race is more sinned against than sinning, and it seems to have fallen upon me to do so. – Ida B. Wells

In fact, for all kinds of offenses – and, for no offenses – from murders to misdemeanors, men and women are put to death without judge or jury; so that, although the political excuse was no longer necessary, the wholesale murder of human beings went on just the same. – Ida B. Wells

It is extremely rough to follow through with my goals, but I felt a responsibility to show the world what the African Americans are facing through this rough patch. – Ida B. Wells

Although lynchings have steadily increased in number and barbarity during the last twenty years, there has been no single effort put forth by the many moral and philanthropic forces of the country to put a stop to this wholesale slaughter. – Ida B. Wells

Brave men do not gather by thousands to torture and murder a single individual, so gagged and bound he cannot make even feeble resistance or defense. – Ida B. Wells

The doors of churches, hotels, concert halls and reading rooms are alike closed against the Negro as a man, but every place is open to him as a servant. – Ida B. Wells

The white man’s victory soon became complete by fraud, violence, intimidation and murder. – Ida B. Wells

The nineteenth century lynching mob cuts off ears, toes, and fingers, strips off flesh, and distributes portions of the body as souvenirs among the crowd. – Ida B. Wells

The miscegenation laws of the South only operate against the legitimate union of the races; they leave the white man free to seduce all the colored girls he can, but it is death to the colored man who yields to the force and advances of a similar attraction in white women. White men lynch the offending Afro-American, not because he is a despoiler of virtue, but because he succumbs to the smiles of white women. – Ida B. Wells

What becomes a crime deserving capital punishment when the tables are turned is a matter of small moment when the negro woman is the accusing party. – Ida B. Wells

The mob spirit has grown with the increasing intelligence of the Afro-American. – Ida B. Wells

The white man’s dollar is his god, and to stop this will be to stop outrages in many localities. – Ida B. Wells

The Afro-American is thus the backbone of the South. – Ida B. Wells

Virtue knows no color line. – Ida B. Wells