The founders of the Niagara Movement were W. E. B. Du Bois and William Monroe Trotter who opposed the slow, docile policies promoted by African American leaders such as Booker T. Washington.
Niagara Movement Facts for kids: Fast Fact Sheet
Fast, fun facts and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) about the Niagara Movement.
What was the Niagara Movement? The Niagara Movement was the first organized African American protest campaign in the 20th century and comprised mainly of black intellectuals.
When was the Niagara Movement founded? The Niagara Movement was founded during the week of July 9, 1905.
Who were the Niagara Movement founders? The founders of the Niagara Movement were William Edward Burghardt Du Bois and William Monroe Trotter.
What was the Purpose and Main Goal of the Niagara Movement? The purpose and main goal of the Niagara Movement was to fight for civil rights and serve as a counterpoint to the political docility and the accommodationist, conciliatory ideas of Booker T. Washington and other prominent African-American leaders of the time.
Why was the Niagara Movement important? The ideals of the Niagara Movement led to the formation of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1909.
The Niagara Movement for kids: Opposition to Booker T. Washington
Booker T. Washington had a long term plan, believing that African Americans should conﬁne themselves to industrial education and manual labor rather than political protest. Washington is quoted as saying that “The wisest among my race understand that the agitation of questions of social equality is the extremist folly". Booker T. Washington was advocating the temporary compromise of civil rights for economic opportunity. W. E. B. Du Bois at first supported these views but as the years dragged by, and racial violence and racial segregation continued, he became impatient for change. Du Bois and twenty-eight elite African American intellectuals and radical civil rights activists therefore formed the Niagara Movement.
The Purpose of the Niagara Movement
The purpose of the Niagara Movement was to offer an alternative to the slow, accommodating, docile policies of Booker T. Washington, calling for agitation for equal economic opportunity and exercise of full civil rights for African Americans. The Niagara Movement to launch a campaign to challenge the 1896 Plessy vs. Ferguson Case. Plessy vs. Ferguson was extremely important legal case in which the Supreme Court decided that "separate but equal" facilities satisfied the guarantees of 14th Amendment, thus giving legal sanction to "Jim Crow" segregation laws.
Niagara Movement Goals
The Niagara Movement goals were to chart a new and more radical course to bring about racial equality and change by calling for full political, civil, and social rights for African Americans. The goals of the Niagara movement were made clear in a speech by W. E. B. Du Bois delivered at the second annual meeting of the Niagara Movement at Harper's Ferry, West Virginia. The speech summary is as follows:
"We claim for ourselves every single right that belongs to a freeborn American, political, civil and social; and until we get these rights we will never cease to protest and assail the ears of America. The battle we wage is not for ourselves alone but for all true Americans. It is a fight for ideals, lest this, our common fatherland, false to its founding, become in truth the land of the thief and the home of the slave -- a byword and a hissing among the nations for its sounding pretensions and pitiful accomplishment".
Click the following link for the full text of the Niagara Movement Speech by W. E. B. Du Bois.
Niagara Movement Declaration of Principles
The Niagara Movement declaration of principles was a powerful and clear statement of the rights of African Americans that urged African Americans to protest the limitation of civil rights, the denial of equal economic opportunity, and denial of education. The authors of the Niagara Movement Declaration of Principles also decried unhealthy living conditions, discrimination in the military, discrimination in the justice system, Jim Crow railroad cars, and other injustices to African Americans. Click the following link for the full text of the Niagara Movement Declaration of Principles.
Opposition and Decline of the Niagara Movement
The Niagara Movement was a short-lived organization (1905 - 1909) and was unable to attract mass support due to organizational weakness and lack of funds. There were disagreements within in the group and powerful external opposition to the organization. Booker T. Washington was a powerful and determined critic of the movement. Booker T. Washington prevented many newspapers from printing the Niagara Movement Declaration of Principles. The lack of publicity prevented many African Americans from joining or contributing funds to the Niagara Movement. The radical nature of the movement and the forthright nature of their protest also contributed to the decline of Niagara Movement. Internal struggles, tensions and disagreements broke out within the group between its leaders, W. E. B. Du Bois and William Monroe Trotter. The two men disagreed over the admission of women to the organization. W. E. B. Du Bois supported the idea, and William Monroe Trotter opposed it, but eventually relented. By the end of the summer of 1907 Trotter and his supporters grew disenchanted and left the movement. Du Bois continued to lead the organization until the formation of the NAACP in 1909.
Niagara Movement Importance
The ideals of the Niagara Movement led to the formation of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). The NAACP adopted many of the goals of the Niagara movement and appointed its leader, W.E.B. Du Bois, as director of publicity and research.
Black History for kids: Important People and Events
For visitors interested in African American History refer to Black History - People and Events. A useful resource for teachers, kids, schools and colleges undertaking projects for the Black History Month.
Niagara Movement Significance
The significance of the Niagara Movement was it led to civil rights activism in the 20th century and led to the formation of the NAACP that defended the rights of African Americans through protest and lobbying against oppression and the publicizing of injustice. The Niagara Movement was the cornerstone of the Modern Civil Rights Era.