If Iola Were a Man: The Sexual Politics of Ida B. Wells

|If Iola Were a Man: The Sexual Politics of Ida B. Wells
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Mia Bay

History Professor, University of Pennsylvania

Born into slavery in Mississippi in 1862, Ida B. Wells overcame a difficult childhood to become a prominent journalist and social reformer, who was as outspoken as any of her male contemporaries. Speaking at a time when it was not customary for women to talk about violence, sex, or even politics, she condemned racial and sexual violence against black men and women and led a famous crusade against lynching. This talk will explore what she had to say and how it was shaped by the experience of growing up black and female in the Jim Crow era.

Mia Bay is the Roy F. and Jeanette P. Nichols Professor of American History at the University of Pennsylvania. Her publications include The White Image in the Black Mind: African-American Ideas about White People, 1830-1925 (Oxford University Press, 2000); To Tell the Truth Freely: The Life of Ida B. Wells (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2009); and the edited work Ida B Wells, The Light of Truth: The Writings of An Anti-Lynching Crusader (Penguin Books, 2014).