In 1905, The Niagra movement was founded by W.E.B Du Bois and William Monroe Trotter. The movement started with 29 business owners, teachers, and clergy who all gathered at the first meeting in Niagara Falls, which is where the group got their name from.
The principles behind the group’s message was largely influenced by Booker T Washington’s philosophy of Accommodationism. Both Du Bois and Trotter opposed his views on the African American Community. The Niagra Movement drafted a “Declaration of Principles” that stated, “We refuse to allow the impression to remain that the Negro American assents to inferiority, is submissive under oppression and apologetic before insults”. The Niagra movements goal was to address the ills of our community.
Whether it was dealing with the issues of crime, economics, religion, health, or education they created an agenda specifically for the black community. The movement stood apart from other black organizations because of their demand for equal rights. By 1906, the movement had grown to 170 members in 34 states, but the leaders began to see things differently. W.E.B Du Bois felt the organization should include women, William Monroe Trotter did not. Trotter left the organization in 1908 to start his own, the Negro-American Political League.
The Niagara Movement would meet annually until 1908. In that year a major race riot broke out in Springfield, Illinois. Eight black people were killed and over 2,000 fled the city. It was the first northern race riot in four decades and white and black activist felt a bigger interracial movement was needed to address racism. Out of this concern, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (N.A.A.C.P) was formed. The Niagara Movement was considered the precursor to the N.A.A.C.P.