Sarah Silkey, a professor of History and Social and Economic Justice at Lycoming College in Pennsylvania, will present “To Tell the World the Truth: Ida B. Wells and the Fight Against Lynching” at Mount Saint Mary College on Thursday, March 2 at 4 p.m.
The free, public event will take place in the Mount’s Kaplan Family Library and Learning Center, room 218. It’s cosponsored by the college’s Catholic and Dominican Institute, the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and the Division of Arts and Letters.
Silkey’s talk will focus on civil rights activist Ida B. Wells, who launched an international campaign to defend the value of Black lives in the late 1800s.
Witnessing mob violence targeting Black Americans in the 1890s, Wells railed against lynching as editor of the Memphis Free Speech. Employing her skills as an investigative journalist, she debunked the racist cultural narratives used by lynching apologists to justify mob violence in the American press. Hoping to pressure American leaders to end lynching, she traveled to England and Scotland in 1893 and 1894 to cultivate British public outrage.
Wells’ story not only illustrates the potential of individuals to be catalysts for change, notes Silkey, but also demonstrates the powerful role the media can play in facilitating both oppression and justice.
Silkey teaches courses examining the intellectual, social, and cultural history of modern America. Her research examines the history of mob violence, anti-lynching protests, and transnational debates about American race relations. She is the author of Black Woman Reformer: Ida B. Wells, Lynching, and Transatlantic Activism.
The Mount’s Catholic and Dominican Institute promotes the Mount’s heritage of St. Dominic, advances the Dominican charism of study and service, provides a forum for discussion of contemporary ethical issues, and enhances Catholic and Jewish dialogue.
The college’s the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion works to foster a thriving culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion to benefit everyone in the Mount community.