Monroe Trotter- 19th century publisher use Principles of Nonviolence to advocate for Black America

"Renowned historian and instructor at Central State University Dr. Joseph Lewis introduce me to Monroe Trotter. We examined his work to ensure Black Americans had "full equality in all things governmental, political, civil and judicial," Trotter presented petitions, led picketing and non-violence protest in the 19th century. Few know that he also a descendant of Jefferson's Sally Hemmings, who gave up his lucrative real estate business to start a newspaper. Dr. Lewis described Trotter as "brave enough to speak 'truth to power' on his visit to America's most racist president Woodrow Wilson to demand adherence to the 14th and 15th Amendments. These demands made Wilson so mad he had him kicked out".

Trotter was a man who truly believed in the matter of Black lives. When he felt that America did not" [fulfill] the preamble of the Declaration of Independence.", he did not want to 'burn it all down'; he wanted to hold her to account. The maverick also proved this by not accepting tobacco and liquor advertisements in his newspaper because they negatively affected the community's advancement. He suspected they were nefariously targeted to Back men. Like Ida B. Wells, Trotter stood behind the 1st Amendment and used Freedom of the Press to get the word out across the world. The Martin Luther King Republicans encourage you to study more about Trotter and the Niagra Movement. And as always, COMMENT, LIKE, and SHARE. -Jimmy Lee Tillman, II founder, and president.

Who was William Monroe Trotter?

Born on April 7, 1872, William Monroe Trotter was a Black news publisher and activist and was called the most militant of the known civil rights activist of the 19th century.

An honor student from Boston, Trotter was the first Black member of Phi Beta Kappa. Between 1897 and 1906, he worked as an insurance and mortgage broker in Boston, Massachusetts. He co-founded the Boston Guardian, a militant newspaper, in 1901, for the purpose of "propaganda against discrimination." He and his wife Geraldine P. Trotter ran the publication. In 1905, Trotter assisted in founding the Niagara Movement but refused to join the NAACP because he felt it to be too moderate and instead formed the National Equal Rights League.

Trotter caused a stir in 1914 because he strongly protested President Woodrow Wilson's support for the segregation of black federal employees in the workplace. Trotter came to the White House as a founder and representative of the National Independent Political League, a militant organization that fought for racial and social justice, and the publisher of The Guardian, a Boston newspaper dedicated to the fight against racial discrimination.

In a meeting with Wilson, Trotter directly challenged the president for permitting the segregation of black and white government clerks. Angered by this confrontation that questioned his integrity, President Wilson declared himself "offended" and had Trotter removed from the White House. Trotter then took his case to the press and ridiculed the president for introducing segregation into the federal workforce to prevent racial friction. The activist noted that black and white clerks had worked together without problems for more than 50 years.

The Niagara Movement

In 1919, Trotter appeared at the Paris Peace Conference in an unsuccessful effort to have the organization outlaw racial discrimination. The State Department had denied him a passport to attend, but he had reached France by having himself hired as a cook on a ship. Because of his strident unwillingness to work with established groups, the Civil Rights Movement has been slow to recognize Trotter. But many of his methods were to be adopted in the 1950s, notably his use of nonviolent protest.

He also led demonstrations against events, plays, and films that glorified Ku Klux Klan. William Monroe Trotter died on April 7, 1934, in Boston.

Trotter devoted his career to the fight against racial discrimination and the development of independent political action in the black community. He led numerous nonviolent protests and demonstrations against conservative black leaders like Booker T. Washington for being too accommodating and attacked films and plays that glorified the Ku Klux Klan. At that time, Trotter's confrontational tactics were highly controversial, but his activism and approach became a model for the Civil Rights Movement from 1940 to 1970.


The African American Atlas

Black History & Culture an Illustrated Reference

by Molefi K. Asanta and Mark T. Mattson

Macmillam USA, Simon & Schuster, New York


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