Ida B. Wells-Barnett and American Reform, 1880-1930

By Patricia A. Schechter | Go to book overview

CHAPTER FIVE

Settlements, Suffrage, Setbacks

n anecdote from Ida B. Wells-Barnett's autobiography describes her settlement, the Negro Fellowship League, as an expression of godly black Awomanhood's leavening role in the community. Located at 2830 State Street—"a very questionable section, ” in her words, of the central boulevard on Chicago's South Side—the League opened on a warm Sunday in May 1910. As worship service began, noise in the alley disrupted those gathered. Wells-Barnett sent the janitor to investigate, who reported that a "bunch of drunken men . . . were out in the next yard shooting craps and paid no attention to him when he asked them to be quiet. ” He recommended that someone go for the police, but Wells-Barnett objected, stating, "Oh, no, we have come over here to be friends to these people, ” and then she went into the alley. The men did not hear her approach over their dice game, so she called to them. They responded to the presence of a lady: "Instantly every one of them got up except one man who was too drunk to do so, ” quickly making assurances that "they would make less noise” or leave. "I would rather you would come into the meeting, ” explained Wells-Barnett. "We have come over here to be your neighbors and we will hold meetings every Sunday. Do come in. ” The men declined with protestations about

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Ida B. Wells-Barnett and American Reform, 1880-1930
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Ida B. Wells-Barnett and American Reform, 1880-1930 *
  • Contents *
  • Illustrations *
  • Preface *
  • Acknowledgments *
  • Introduction *
  • Chapter One - Talking Through Tears *
  • Chapter Two - Coming of Age in Memphis *
  • Chapter Three - The Body in Question *
  • Chapter Four - Progress Against Itself *
  • Chapter Five - Settlements, Suffrage, Setbacks *
  • Chapter Six - For Women, of Women, by Women *
  • Conclusion *
  • Notes *
  • Bibliography *
  • Index *
  • Gender and American Culture *
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