Sarah L. Silkey, Ph.D., associate professor of history at Lycoming College, published the book “Black Woman Reformer: Ida B. Wells, Lynching, and Transatlantic Activism.”
Based on extensive archival research conducted in the United States and Britain, “Black Woman Reformer” explores Wells’s 1893–94 antilynching campaigns within the broader contexts of nineteenth-century transatlantic reform networks and debates about the role of extralegal violence in American society.
During the early 1890s, a series of shocking lynchings brought unprecedented international attention to American mob violence. This interest created an opportunity for Ida B. Wells, an African American journalist and civil rights activist from Memphis, to travel to England to cultivate British moral indignation against American lynching. Wells adapted race and gender roles established by African American abolitionists in Britain to legitimate her activism as a “black lady reformer”—a role American society denied her—and assert her right to defend her race from abroad. Through her speaking engagements, newspaper interviews, and the efforts of her British allies, Wells altered the framework of public debates on lynching in both Britain and the United States.
The book was published by University of Georgia Press and is available for purchase on Amazon.
Silkey received her doctorate from the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England, and served as a fellow at the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African American and African Studies at the University of Virginia. Outside of her book, she is the author of several scholarly essays. Her research examines nineteenth-century transatlantic debates about American lynching and race relations.