“Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty”: the Proverbs and Proverbial Sayings of Ida B. Wells-Barnett


Raymond Melton-Javon Summerville (Fayetteville State University)

This essay seeks to recontextualize the proverbs and proverbial expressions that Ida B. Wells Barnett uses throughout her life. They come from a variety of different sources including literature, the Bible, and other famous leaders. She uses proverbs in diverse and ingenious ways for a multitude of purposes. She employs proverbial rhetoric to persuade political leaders to put an end to lynch law and mob violence in America, and to bring attention to the temperance movement and to other causes that she cared deeply about. By understanding Wells-Barnett’s use of proverbs one may also understand various aspects of her worldview.

Part of 02-13 Proverb(s), Thursday, October 13, 10:30 am–12:30 pm