I have been invited to be your guest columnist and I’d like to introduce myself as Ida B. Wells. Back in Holly Springs, Mississipppi, after my newspaper office was destroyed, I moved up to Chicago, where I remain diligent in my anti-lynching crusade. It is sad that three of my very dear friends, Calvin McDowell, Henry Stewart and Thomas Moss had to lose their precious lives to the horrible lynch mob, so I continue in my fight to see that no other human being has to face such a brutal death.
The People’s Grocery Store was owned by those three gentleman, who lost their lives in 1892, after they were dragged from their jail cells and lynched by a mob of angry white men. Those white men didn’t want my black brothers competing for their business in town so they attacked them, trying to scare them off. If Calvin, Henry and Thomas wouldn’t have fought back, they would probably still be here, today. They fought for their rights and lost their lives, during the process.
I feel that by taking those three lives, the white lynch mob demonstrated their hate for the black population. They think that they are superior to our race and that if we try to get ahead in society by owning productive businesses, we should be pushed back, and if we don’t accept being pushed back, we risk our lives. We can stop these lynch mobs from killing our brothers, by every black man banding together and standing up and fighting for our rights to be productive citizens, in Chicago and all across the nation.
If we continue to stick together, hold rallies and marches where we speak out against the lynching of the black man, we can make a difference. But, we as a black population must stand strong and take our stand in America against the brutality that has been brought upon our people. If we don’t take this strong stand for our rights, we will never be safe. We will never be free to conduct our business without being persecuted and pushed to the side, and possible attacked and killed by the lynch mob.
“If we succeed, one day we will be prosperous as a black race,” Thomas Webber tell us in his own words. (1891, p. 4) There will be no lynch mob that drags a black man from his jail cell to be brutally killed by the white man. I am hoping for the day when the black man will be free to run his grocery store without being attacked. It will be a glorious day for our people when we can apply for jobs where we must be hired before the white man because we have special rights and privileges.
It will be a wonderful time where we have special black college funds, Black History Month and we can place the title black on our privileges. (Smith, p. 2) Andrew Smith speaks of hope when he said, “There will be a brighter future for us all, one day! ” We must persevere and keep fighting the good fight for our people and if we don’t, we will never put an end to the lynch mobs who kill our black brothers. (1891, Webber, Thomas, Looking Toward the Future, newspaperarchives. com, p. 4) (1890, Smith, Andrew, We Live by Faith, oldnewspapers. com, p. 2)