1905 July 11

Niagara Movement, Forerunner of NAACP, Founded


At a four-day conference, African-American leaders who opposed the accommodationist racial policy of Booker T. Washington and wanted a more aggressive defense of civil rights, met and formed the Niagara Movement. The conference marked the beginning of the organized civil rights movement in the twentieth century.

The Niagara Movement evolved into the NAACP on February 12, 1909. The two principal leaders of the Niagara Movement were W.E. B. Du Bois (see his death on August 27, 1963) and Monroe Trotter. Trotter is famous for confronting President Woodrow Wilson in the White House over civil rights on November 12, 1914.

The Statement of Principles (excerpt): “Civil Liberty: We believe also in protest against the curtailment of our civil rights. All American citizens have the right to equal treatment in places of public entertainment according to their behavior and deserts.”

Read the Niagara Movement Statement of Principles: http://www.yale.edu/glc/archive/1152.htm

Learn more about the history of the Niagara Movement: Angela Jones, African American Civil Rights: Early Activism and the Niagara Movement (2011)

Learn more about W.E. B. Du Bois: http://www.blackpast.org/aah/dubois-william-edward-burghardt-1868-1963

Learn more about African American history: Henry Louis Gates, Life Upon These Shores: Looking at African American History, 1513-2008 (2011)

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