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Southern Women in the Anti-Lynching Campaign

Document 3

Charlotte Hawkins Brown, an African-American woman, addressed a historic interracial conference in Memphis:

      Friends, what do you say about the cold-heartedness that we have felt? I told you to begin with, that we have become a little bit discouraged. We have begun to feel that you are not, after all, interested in us and I am going still further. The Negro women of the South lay everything that happens to the members of her race at the door of the Southern white woman. Just why I don't know, but we all feel that you can control your men. We feel so far as lynching is concerned that, if the white woman would take hold of the situation that lynching would be stopped, mob violence stamped out and yet the guilty would have justice meted out by due course of law and would be punished accordingly. We do not condone criminality. We do not want our men to do anything that would make you feel that they were trying to destroy the chastity of our white women and, on the other hand, I want to say to you, when you read in the paper where a colored man has insulted a white woman, just multiply that by one thousand and you have some idea of the number of colored women insulted by white men.

-- Excerpt from Charlotte Hawkins Brown, Speech Given at the Women's
Interracial Conference in Memphis Tennessee, 8 October 1920.

6. Whom did Hawkins blame for ongoing lynching?

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7. How did Brown try to persuade the women at the conference to act?

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