A Pictorial History of Magic and the Supernatural by Maurice Bessy

By Maurice Bessy

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18 An entry in Wells-Barnett’s autobiography recounts how her father went into town, bought tools, and set up a carpenter shop and a household after his boss locked him out because he did not vote the way the man wanted. Wells-Barnett stated, “When Mr. ”19 Jim Wells was also a trustee of Shaw University and was involved in politics, although he held no office. Her parents instilled in Wells-Barnett a belief that education was a means for advancement. Although she cannot remember when she started school, Wells-Barnett attended Shaw University in Holly Springs, a school founded by the Freedmen’s Aid Society that went from elementary to normal or teacher training.

Yet today the women remain virtually absent from the history of the American press, black press, and feminist press. It may be reasonable to conclude that because of the nature and scope of the women’s activism, their work as journalists has been over-shadowed. Their accomplishments were so great in many areas; hence their journalism endeavors may have been seen as only a part of the mix and not as a defining part of their work. During the past quarter century, historians have uncovered, documented, and presented a plethora of works which reveal the extent of nineteenth and early twentieth century women’s contributions to American society.

Up to that time I had felt that any fight made in the interest of the race would have its support. 85 That incident early in her career, the manner in which she took a stand, and the reaction of her race members portended a position in which Wells-Barnett would find herself often in her career—that of a lone crusader. She used her words to advocate on behalf of her race, and when she incurred the wrath of her detractors, Wells-Barnett continued along the path she had chosen or sought another avenue through which she could make an impact.

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