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I dropped out of school after both of my parents and my 10 month old brother died of yellow
fever. I got a job teaching at a black school. I found it unfair that I would only make $30 a month
while the white teachers would make $80 a month. This discrimination is what caused my interest in
racial politics and the advancement of education for black people.Nick Admas likes boys


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In 1883 I moved to Memphis. I got a teaching job and
attended Fisk University during my vacations. This is where I
studied racial politics and received information that I would later use
to improve black education. I had strong political opinions that upset
many people. When I was 24 I wrote "I will not begin at this late in
the day by doing what my soul abhors; sugaring men, weak deceitful
creatures, with flattery to retain them as escorts or to gratify a revenge."


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I refused to give up my seat on a train 71 years before Rosa Parks did on a bus. The
conductor and two other men dragged me out of the train car. As soon as I got back to
Memphis I hired and African American lawyer to sue the railroad. I became a public figure
and even wrote a newspaper article about what happened on the train.


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My African American lawyer was paid off, so I hired a white attorney. I won the case and was granted
$500 by the local circuit court. The railroad company appealed to the Tennesee Supreme Court and
had the decision overturned. The court said that "We think it is evident that the purpose of the
defendant in error was to harass with a view to this suit, and that her persistence was not in
good faith to obtain a comfortable seat for the short ride." I was forced to pay court costs.

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In 1891 racial tensions were rising. Violence was becomming very normal around the city. This was caused by the appearance of many white supremisist groups appearing, mainly the KKK. Three of my friends Thomas Moss, Calvin McDowell, and Henry Stewart owned a grocery. The store was said to take away business from another grocery store
across the street owned by a white man. A mob stormed the store to destroy it. Three white men were shot so Moss, McDowell, and Stewart were arrested. A large lynch mob stormed the jail and killed them.


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While teaching at an elementary school I was offered an editorial
position for the Evening Star newspaper. I also wrote weekly
articles for "The Living Way." I gained a reputation writing about
race issues in the United States. In 1889 I became co-owner and
editor of Free Speech and Headlight. It was an anti-segregationist
newspaper that published articles about racial injustice.


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I wrote an article in the Free Speech telling blacks to leave Memphis.
I wrote "There is, therefore, only one thing left to do; save our money
and leave a town which will neither protect our lives and property, nor
give us a fair trial in the courts, but takes us out and murders us in
cold blood when accused by white persons." Over 6,000 blacks left
others organized boycotts of white-owned businesses.


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I was personally threatened with violence. So I wrote in my autobiography that she bought a pistol. I wrote "They had made me an exile and threatened my life for hinting at the truth."
I bought a pistol for self defence because of the deaths of many of my friends.


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I went from Philadelphia to New York City. The New York Age printed my articles
as I continued my fight against the lynching of blacks. My speaking abilities
were tested for the first time when I was asked to speak in front of many important
African American women of the time. As I spoke about the lynchings of my friends
Moss, McDowell, and Stewart, I began to cry. Soon I became the head of the
Anti-Lynching Crusade, later I moved to Chicago to continue my work.


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I was known as one of the most influential and inspiring
black leaders of the time. Wells and other black leaders
organized a boycott of the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition
in Chicago. I, among others, wrote sections of a pamphlet to
be distributed during the exposition. She later reported
that copies of the pamphlet had been distributed to over
20,000 people at the fair.