This Day in Black History: July 11, 1905

W.E.B. Du Bois founded the Niagara Movement.

Posted: 07/11/2012 07:00 AM EDT
W.E.B. Du Bois

Responding to the frustration felt some African-American activists and intellectual elites over what they viewed to be a policy of appeasement adopted by Tuskegee Institute founder Booker T. Washington when dealing with whites, then-Atlanta University professor W.E.B. Du Bois on July 11, 1905, founded the Niagara Movement to aggressively petition for civil rights for African-Americans. Joined by journalist William Monroe Trotter, Du Bois gathered a group of more than 50 African-American men on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls, after which the movement was named. They were forced to cross the border after a white hotel proprietor refused them lodging. The movement developed a Declaration of Principles that served as a manifesto for its fight for "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," Du Bois explained in a speech that day. The group disbanded in 1911 because of limited resources and clashes over its agenda, leading Du Bois to later co-found the NAACP.

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