W.E.B. Du Bois and William Monroe Trotter formed the Niagara Movement on July 11, 1905 in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. The group’s aim was to counter the accommodationism policies of Booker T. Washington, and was viewed as a radical Black civil rights group in comparison.
The Niagara Movement was initially a group of 29 teachers, clergymen, activists and business owners, all who suffered racism in Buffalo, New York. The Movement drafted its first “Declaration of Principles,” dedicated to addressing key issues of equal rights, voting, calling for the end to segregation and economic equality. Du Bois opened up the group to include women, which Trotter openly opposed. He left the Movement in 1908 to form a similar, men-only group.
Members of the movement met annually until 1908. In August of that year, a major race riot broke out in Springfield, Illinois, leading to the death of eight Black people and the displacement of around 2,000 Black residents. Black and white activists decided then that a larger, interracial organization should be formed to address the issues that the Movement fought for. The following year, the NAACP was formed in New York, composed of some of the Niagara Movement’s founding members.
PHOTO: Library of Congress, Public Domain