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  • Published: 28 January 2015
  • ISBN: 9780143106821
  • Imprint: Penguin Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 624
  • RRP: $37.99

The Light of Truth

Writings of an Anti-Lynching Crusader



Seventy-one years before Rosa Parks was arrested for her courageous act of resistance, police dragged a young Black journalist named Ida B. Wells off a train for refusing to give up her seat. Wells used that experience as a jumping point towards a fruitful career as a journalist and fierce civil rights advocate. However, when hate crimes touched her life personally, Wells mounted what was to become her life's work: a vigilant anti-lynching crusade that called the attention of the American public to the prevalence of lynching. Through brilliant social analysis, Wells exposed lynching as part of a larger framework of subjugation in which white Southerners used violence as a potent, socially accepted tactic to combat Black economic progress. Wells won international renown for her investigative journalism, leading her on lecture tours around the Northern States and Europe, where she rallied international support against lynching. Throughout both her published work and her speeches, Wells established herself as a sophisticated rhetorician fighting for social justice and human dignity by combining irrefutable evidence with deeply personal emotional appeal. In the words of Frederick Douglass, Well's work is "a revelation of existing conditions."

This volume, edited and introduced by Wells biographer Mia Bay, gathers a comprehensive collection of Wells's surviving work. Drawing from her early writings, exemplary pieces from her anti-lynching crusade like "Southern Horrors" and "A Red Record," articles from her travel abroad, and her late journalism, The Light of Truth offers a wide-ranging view of an early civil and women's rights pioneer, serving as both a resource for students of Wells and a testament to the the vital role of human rights activism.

The broadest and most comprehensive collection of writings available by an early civil and women’s rights pioneer

Seventy-one years before Rosa Parks’s courageous act of resistance, police dragged a young black journalist named Ida B. Wells off a train for refusing to give up her seat. The experience shaped Wells’s career, and—when hate crimes touched her life personally—she mounted what was to become her life’s work: an anti-lynching crusade that captured international attention.

This volume covers the entire scope of Wells’s remarkable career, collecting her early writings, articles exposing the horrors of lynching, essays from her travels abroad, and her later journalism. The Light of Truth is both an invaluable resource for study and a testament to Wells’s long career as a civil rights activist.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

  • Published: 28 January 2015
  • ISBN: 9780143106821
  • Imprint: Penguin Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 624
  • RRP: $37.99

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