Mississippi Department of Archives and History - Archives and Library Division Catalog

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Stone Collection: Volume 15 - Item 16
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Alfred H. Stone Collection
Volume: 15

16. Ida B. Wells, The Reason Why: The Colored American Is Not in the World’s Columbian Exposition: The Afro-American’s Contribution to Columbian Literature ([Chicago?]: n.p., [1893]). (81 p.)

Pamphlet protesting the exclusion of African Americans from meaningful participation in the exposition celebrating the four-hundredth anniversary of Columbus’s discovery of America. A preface printed in French, German, and English notes that “The exhibit of the progress made by a race in 25 years of freedom as against 250 years of slavery, would have been the greatest tribute to the greatness and progressiveness of American institutions which could have been shown to the world.” Frederick Douglass provides an introduction. There are also chapters on black disenfranchisement, the convict lease system, lynching, and examples of the progress achieved by African Americans since their emancipation. There are a number of illustrations accompanying the text, including two pictures of dead black men hanging by their necks and several woodcuts of buildings on the campuses of black schools. Ms. Wells notes on the back cover that 20,000 copies of the pamphlet had been printed for gratuitous distribution.