The Niagara Movement Organization

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The Niagara Movement is an organization that focuses on the civil rights of African American men and women in the United States. The Niagara Movement was a group of 29 people who came from different backgrounds: business owners, clergy, and teachers (Black Past 1). The first meeting of this movement took place in July 1905. The meeting took place on the Canadian side of the Niagara Falls. This movement attempted to address issues of crime, religion, economics, health, and education. The Niagara movement stood out from other movements and organizations during the late nineteenth century because it forcefully demands equal rights economically and educationally, demanded the right to vote for both African American men and women.

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The local newspaper in Denver Colorado, the Statesman, was one of many publications which reported on the Niagara Movement during the Progressive Era from 1890 to 1920 in the United States. The Statesman was a newspaper paper that served the black communities in five states: “Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming” (The Statesman). The Statesman is known for reporting on local news and national stories mainly interested in African Americans residing in the Mountain West. The Statesman is owned by a former student of Booker T. Washington. In an article published by the Statesman on August 18, 1905, the article expresses support of the Niagara Movement and W.E.B. DuBois. In the section, the support showed by him, “[l]et the Niagara Movement have the right of way. It is the most practical and promising effort ever attempted by colored men to break the backbone of American castle prejudice and secure even-handed justice for the Negro” (Statesman 1). Newspapers during the Progressive Era were generally supportive of the Niagara Movement. However, other newspapers supported Booker T. Washington’s philosophy of Accommodationism.

The Broad Ax is a newspaper written in Salt Lake City, Utah. In an article published by the Broad Ax, the article discusses the similarities and differences between Booker T. Washington and W.E.B DuBois work with the 14th Amendment. This article favors Washington philosophy rather than DuBois’s. Washington and DuBois opinions of black social and economic progress differ. Washington and Dubois’s opposing philosophies read in this article by the Broad Ax. Washington’s philosophy preaches on self-help and accommodation urging African Americans to accept racial discrimination and concentrate on their growth through hard work and prosperity of materialistic things. If education focused on crafts, industrial and farming skills and the cultivation of different qualities, winning respect from whites in the United States and would lead to African American being fully accepted in society as citizens. Whereas, DuBois philosophy is opposite of Washington’s. W.E.B. DuBois believed Washington’s philosophy would only continue white repression. DuBois is a civil-rights activist that advocates for political actions and human right agendas. He also argues for a societal change achieved by creating small groups of college-educated blacks. During the Progressive Era, the dispute between Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. DuBois differentiated through two African American leaders into two philosophies–the traditional side and the conservative side. Booker T. Washington’s, radical critics and his supporters.

In the last newspaper I read and research, the Western Appeal approaches the Progressive Era differently than the two other newspapers. The Western Appeal articles represent a Republican tone, opposite view of the intended audience. The Western Appeal editor first started his career at the Louisville Bulletin before coming to the Appeal. Most of his work was forceful editorials that supported the rights of African American although he participated in Republican Party politics and supported Washington’s philosophy of Accommodationism — ending up destroying his career and reputation. The Appeal overtime became less relevant politically and regionally, and by 1913, its offices across the Midwest closed its doors forever. Appearing repeatedly in the Western Appeal, the Niagara Movement became a critical topic written by this newspaper. The purposes of the Niagara Movement written in the Western Appeal was to create “[f]reedom of speech and criticism, an unfettered and unsubsidized press, full manhood suffrage, the abolition of all caste distinctions based simply on race or color, the recognition of the principle of human brotherhood as a practical present creed, the recognition of the highest and best human training as the monopoly of no class or race, a belief in the dignity of labor, and united effort to realize these ideals under a wise, pure and fearless leadership” (Western Appeal 4). These ideals created by leaders of the Niagara Movement show that they are entirely for African American whereas if the ideals created by Washington were in effect it would have left the African-Americans subjective to more abuse.

The Niagara Movement proved itself that effort could open doors to many other African American prominent figures attempting to end segregation and the Jim Crow laws. Despite its impressive beginning, the Niagara Movement did not last long, had little influence on legislative action, its principles led to the formation of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) founded in 1909 by W.E.B. DuBois.

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The Niagara Movement Organization. (2021, Mar 19). Retrieved from