From a reader:
You might be interested in a review by Mark Bauerlein in Saturday’s WSJ of a biography by Paula J. Giddings of black journalist Ida B. Wells. After covering some details of Wells’ early career, Bauerlein relates that she was part of a contingent that met with Woodrow Wilson in 1913 to protest segregation in the civil-service. This set off alarm bells in me that wouldn’t have existed two weeks ago: I am only six pages in LF past the paragraph where, in detailing Wilson’s Progressive identity politics, you mentioned his resegregation of the federal government. No mention is made in the review of the outcome of the meeting, but I imagine it’s a pretty safe bet Wells’ mission came to naught. A little further on, Bauerlein notes that, per Giddings, W.E.B. Du Bois took personal credit for excluding her from the inner circles of the NAACP. Surely Du Bois despised lynching, so the question is why? Did Du Bois’ Progressive politics have any influence on his actions here? If Giddings has any ideas on this, Bauerlein doesn’t relate them, but I probably would have let this passed unnoticed pre-LF. And lastly, Bauerlein details how Wells was investigated for treason under the Espionage Act of 1917. Again, thanks to LF I now have a tremendous background of new information with which to evaluate that statement. Thanks again for the great work, and I hope you can make it down to Houston sometime (the weather’s great here this time of year).