Document 4A: "Miss Ida B. Wells Informs Our Readers as to the Condition of the World's Fair Pamphlet Movement," Cleveland Gazette, 22 July 1893.

Introduction

       Roth introduces the theory of "resource mobilization" in her summary of the changing sociological theory surrounding social movements. Resource mobilization and political opportunity theorists see movements as responses to "new situations" developing within existing institutions. The Chicago World's Fair, held to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Columbus's arrival in America, provided new opportunities for both black and white women to promote their social reform agendas. However, black women were not represented on the Fair's Board of Lady Managers, the group responsible for the women's exhibit. African Americans fought this discrimination in two related ways, illustrated in the following documents, which also appear in "African-American Women and the Chicago World's Fair." Some women, like Ida B. Wells, wanted to publicize the discrimination faced by black women and push for change within established institutions; other women formed a new group, the Colored Women's League, from which they could push for African-American rights (see Document 4B).

MISS IDA B. WELLS

__________________________

Informs Our Readers as to the

Condition of the World's Fair

Pamphlet Movement.

__________________________

What the Pamphlet Will Be--The Amount

of Cash in Hand and Subscribed--Ohio

Afro-Americans Should Do Their

Duty at Once and Forward

Something to Aid the

Movement.

__________________________

SPECIAL to THE GAZETTE. EDITOR GAZETTE:-So many write to ask me to send them an explanation of what the world's fair pamphlet is intended for, that I beg space to say in a few words what we are trying to do. There is no appropriation for stamps, secretary, etc., hence it comes very hard to answer every personal letter I get on the subject.

        It was thought that as the intelligence, skill and every civilized people on the globe was to be represented at the fair, and that many would come expecting to see something of the Afro-American; that as he had been so studiously kept out of representation in any official capacity and given menial places, it was the race's duty to tell why this is so. Especially does this seem necessary when the foreigner, knowing nothing about the kind of prejudice prevailing in this country, will be told all manner of things to the Afro-American's discredit as a race by the white American. The pamphlet is intended as a calm, dignified statement of the Afro-American's side of the story, from the beginning to the present day; a recital of the obstacles which have hampered him; a sketch of what he has done in twenty-five years with all his persecution, and a statement of the fruitless efforts he made for representation at the world's fair.

        But money is needed for the project. My absence in England delayed both the collection of money and the collection of facts. I returned to find no one attending to the matter, and that Mr. Douglass, the treasurer of the funds, had received only $25 of the $500 needed to print even an English edition. I have always believed the people would contribute to the vindication of themselves if they rightly understood what we were attempting, and so I set myself to work to raise the money. This has been my work for the past four weeks. Most of the following amount has been collected through personal appeal. The contributions which have come from the newspapers or through them, have been very few and far between. By personal soliciting here in Chicago, from visitors and citizens I collected $81.55. A meeting by the women at Bethel church Sunday afternoon, July 9, over which Hon. Frederick Douglass presided, resulted in a collection of $113.58. There will be another meeting at Quinn chapel next Sunday afternoon, at which it is hoped the greater residue of the $500 needed will be collected. This will barely pay for the printing of twenty thousand copies of the English edition, if we can collect it, which I hardly anticipate, but does not include the cost of distribution. The race in Ohio and elsewhere will greatly aid the work if they will send even small contributions. A correspondent wishes to know when the pamphlet will be out. I can only say when we get the money to print it with. The fair may be half over before it is out, but that is not the fault of those who have the matter in hand.

        The following statement will show the money already on hand:

Collected by I. B. W............................................. $81.55
Collected at the Bethel church................................ $113.58
Hon. F. Douglass................................................... $50.00
Contributions received by Mr. Douglass.................. $25.00
Total.................................................................... $270.13
July 17, Received from Thos. Green, Norwalk, Ohio. $5.00
  $275.13

 

        Nearly one hundred dollars more have been subscribed, but I am counting only the actual cash in hand. All those who have subscribed, or intend to do so, will help the work greatly if they will forward immediately to the address given below. Said amount shall be duly acknowledged and turned over to the treasurer. The above statement does not include Mr. Loudin's $50 which he writes that he will send soon.

Respectfully, IDA B. WELLS. 184 Dearborn St., Room 37, Chicago, Ill.

 

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