Ida B. Wells: A Passion for Justice Film Critical Response

The film “Ida B Wells: A Passion for Justice” reflects on the life of Ida B. Wells a girl born of slaves who could not stand the injustice or discrimination experienced by Black Americans during her time. Other than the discrimination from the government, Wells experienced several life misfortunes including the loss of her parents at a young age, and the need to sacrifice her life, education, to take care of her disabled sibling who no one wanted to take in. She started working at a young age to cater for her siblings, a situation that exposed her to actual social injustices committed against black Americans by the government and law enforcers. Wells had hopes of positive change.

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However, she experienced disappointment in most cases, especially when the Supreme Court overturned black people’s equality laws, empowering social segregation. Blacks had to live a life way under other Americans, subordinate, by default. They were entitled to lower social standards by the law. Meaning one had little or nothing to do to improve his or her situation. However, instead of conforming to such discriminative laws, Wells decided to fight them by fighting against initially court battles, and later through journalism. Although she lost the case, she somehow encouraged the Black people to fight for their rights (African & Latino Studies, 2019).

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Wells’ struggle sparked a feeling of determination and resistance against unjust laws.  It also opened a new path in her career, journalism. She was brave enough to expose the poor living condition of the Blacks, enabled by the government. She exposed Black Americans’ killings for wanting to improve their lives, with killers being left free to kill more. Her desire to fight against social injustice made her rise to a press owner, and later among the top black journalist in the country. She was also able to ignite the Blacks’ desire to fight for their rights, through her writing, despite the White refusal to give it.

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Wells was able to fuel the spirit of change and resistance to a point where blacks were comfortable with extreme measures to gain their social justice. Wells was able to initiate blacks to dispose of their properties and leave a town for lack of government protection against whites who would kill them and go unpunished.  Wells tried to show Blacks their power in the American political, social and economic system. Despite not being valued, this move initiated a panic among whites, who depended on blacks for their businesses. The most powerful thing about Wells’ writing is that she understood Whites’ political and social strategies and used counter-strategies to influence blacks and corner whites (African & Latino Studies, 2019).

This was quite a powerful, move that also managed to challenge some of the unfair laws used to judge blacks for being human, for instance, the sexual abuse law used to execute black men for approaching white women, among other Blacks injustices enacted through court rulings. The most powerful thing about Wells’ writing is that it was mostly based on investigation and exposure of the truth about different legal and social situations involving black people in the south and later in the United States. She always ensured to have concrete data and other evidence to challenge some of the legal and social injustices practiced in the country. Although the main institutions snubbed her input initially, her editorial work eventually managed to make a positive impact on society as the exposed institution considered making some adjustments to better Blacks’ life in the country. Wells’ input in writing, lecturers, and activism contributed a great role in Black Americans’ long struggle for equality and recognition of their contribution to the success of the American social, economic, and political system.

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