Rhetorical Analysis Of Ida B. Wells

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Ida B. Wells was born and brought up in slavery during the Civil War. Being settled in the segregated and violent South, she was exposed to racial discrimination and brutality. After the lynching of her childhood friend, Wells turned her attention and journalism to white mob violence. To build her argument and appeal to ethos, Ida B. Wells uses many personal examples and first-hand experiences. In her pamphlet, “Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All Its Phases”, Wells establishes her credibility throughout the accounts of others, including Frederick Douglass. Douglass states in his letter to Wells, “You give us what you know and testify from actual knowledge. You have dealt with the facts with cool, painstaking fidelity and left those naked and uncontradicted facts to speak for themselves” (Wells-Barnett). Frederick Douglass, a man who was once enslaved and encountered lynchings, acknowledges Wells’ bravery and expresses his gratitude and appreciation for her actions. Wells includes the letter from Douglass, a credible man, to further her own credibility and add to her ethos. …show more content…

Wells is consistent throughout her pamphlet in using an outraged and assertive, yet collected, tone. She strives to appeal to her audience’s emotions and move her readers through compelling diction and language. Using pathos, she attempts to evoke the same terror, anger, and distress that African Americans experience in the South. In her pamphlet, she states, “They have cheated him out of his ballot, deprived him of civil rights or redress therefor in the civil courts, robbed him of the fruits of his labor, and are still murdering, burning and lynching him” (Wells-Barnett). Through her language and tone, Ida B. Wells has the objective of starting an uproar in the South and abolishing the gruesome Lynch Law. Wells’ approach to pathos provides us with a better understanding of her rhetoric and

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