July 11, 1905: The Niagara Movement

2 Posted by - November 3, 2021 - Black History, CIVIL RIGHTS

On this day in 1905, a movement was initiated to oppose the philosophy of Accommodationism in America. The Niagara Movement was a civil rights group that was organized by William Monroe Trotter and W. E. B DuBois in 1905. This group was compromised of 29 teachers, business owners, and clergy who after not being allowed to enter the hotels in Buffalo, New York, had an initial meeting at the Niagara Falls and that’s how the name of the movement was derived.

The main purpose behind the principles of the Niagara Movement was specifically opposing the Accommodationism agenda of Booker T. Washington. Trotter, editor of the Boston Guardian Newspaper publically disapproved the meeting held by Washington at Boston, Massachusetts in 1903. According to the book “The Souls of Black Folk,” DuBois was the one who condemned all the low-thought expectations of Washington for African-American people. Soon, the Niagara Movement wrote a simple “Declaration of Principles,” stating that they refuse to allow any consent that makes Negro-Americans an inferiority, it is oppression and must be apologized before any insult.

The Niagara Movement that was built on a solid agenda brought some serious legal change that addressed the various issues related to crime, religion, economics, health, and education. Because of its powerful impact, this movement stood apart and showed some different consent as compared to many other Black organizations at that time. They had some unequivocal demands for proper and equal rights. This movement demanded all sorts of equal educational and economic opportunities as well as the right to vote for all the Black men and women. The members of the Niagara Movement had a strong will, and that’s why they sent a powerful message to the whole country to condemn racial discrimination and work to end segregation.

Due to the popularity of the Niagara Movement, many people joined the movement, and it became a group of around 170 members that spread across 34 states by the end of 1906. But it is not always easy as they also faced major difficulties throughout their movement. W. E. B DuBois was the one who encouraged women to be a part of the movement, but Trotter never liked the idea and so left the movement in 1908 to start another league having the same cause. After the major race riot that broke in Springfield, Illinois, eight Blacks were killed, and over 2,000 Black American left the city. For this reason, another organization was formed by the name of National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and it was Niagara Movement that was considered the precursor of this organization that had the same members as its founders.

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