The University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts & Sciences Department of English

Ida B. Wells-Barnett, "A Red Record"

1. According to Ida B. Wells, what has caused the post Civil-War increase in white violence against black people?

2. What three chief excuses are given by post-civil war southerners for their killing of black people?

3. In most cases, what do such southerners mean by "rape"?

4. What statement by Barnett caused her office to be raided? Why do you think this caused such great anger?

5. What are some instances in which Barnett uses irony? Is it effective?

6. According to Wells, which categories of women did the southern white man not respect? Does she give evidence?

7. Does Wells view lynching as a uniquely American vice? Do you think she is right? ("It becomes a painful duty of the Negro to reproduce a record which shows that a large portion of the American people avow anarchy, condone muder and defy the contempt of civilization.")

What effect does this practice have upon American morality as a whole?

8. What does Wells see as the remedy for such crimes?

9. What instances does she give of a double standard in applying the law? (p. 603) Did any of these instances suggest Dunbar's "The Haunted Oak"?

10. What does Wells urge her audience to do?

11. Why do you think Wells may have included favorable references to white women schoolteachers who worked in the South, and James Russell Lowell's poem "Freedom"?

11. How would you characterize Wells' style? Why do you think her words aroused so much opposition?

  Copyright © 2010 Florence S Boos, The University of Iowa. All rights reserved.
  Page updated: September 3, 2010 22:56