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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Willie Snow Ethridge, December 15, 1975. Interview G-0024. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Working for the anti-lynching movement in the 1920s and 1930s

Ethridge discusses her participation in the anti-lynching movement during the 1920s and 1930s. During these years Ethridge was involved in the Association of Southern Women for the Prevention of Lynching. In outlining her contribution to the movement, Ethridge explains why she was against lynching, how she wrote articles to expose the struggles of African Americans and poor whites in the South, and how she occasionally made speeches for the cause.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Willie Snow Ethridge, December 15, 1975. Interview G-0024. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

LEE KESSLER:
Well, when Miss Hall asked me to come up here and talk with you, one of the things she wanted me to ask you about was some of your magazine articles, and specifically one that you wrote for The Nation. You probably might have a hard time…
WILLIE SNOW ETHRIDGE:
I used to do articles for The Nation and for a magazine called The Outlook, and they were all to do with lynching or Negro problems.
LEE KESSLER:
Now I know that you were part of the Association of Southern Women for the Prevention of Lynching.
WILLIE SNOW ETHRIDGE:
Yes.
LEE KESSLER:
How did you get involved in that? Where did you hear about it?
WILLIE SNOW ETHRIDGE:
Well, I don't know how I got involved in it, except I was doing articles all the time about it. The problems of the poor whites and the Negroes, you know, striving for rungs on the same ladder, that's what caused all that bitter feeling. I mean, you never found well-to-do people out lynching. It was always people who were bitterly jealous of the Negro. And I remember doing one on that subject in The Outlook or The Nation. And you know, I was awarded a whole year's fellowship in Germany for my interest in the minority problem. They wanted me to study for a year just before Hitler went into power, the minorities in Germany, because of my interest in the Negro problem in the South. But I don't remember, there used to be a magazine called Review of Reviews, I believe. This is so long ago, my dear, and so much has happened to me since [laughter] I can't possibly… But I know they were all on the problem of the blacks in the South … and the poor whites! I wrote about the poor whites as much as I did about the blacks, because they were so involved together, really.
LEE KESSLER:
Well, were you heavily active in the Association?
WILLIE SNOW ETHRIDGE:
I used to go to the meetings, and I used to make speeches whenever I had a chance or audience to make a speech on this subject.