Although Washington was a powerful African-American, he was often met with resistance. William Monroe Trotter heckled Washington at a 1903 speaking engagement in Boston. Washington countered Trotter and his group by saying, “These crusaders, as nearly as I can see, are fighting windmills…They know books, but they do not know men…Especially are they ignorant in regard to the actual needs of the colored people in the South today.”
Another opponent was W.E.B. Du Bois who argued that African-Americans were in fact citizens of the United States and needed to fight for their rights, especially their right to vote.
Trotter and Du Bois founded the Niagara Movement to assemble African-American men to aggressively protest against discrimination.
Du Bois was also an active member and later president of the American Negro Academy, an organization which promoted the scholarship of intellectual African-American men.
Article source: http://afroamhistory.about.com/od/biographies/p/Booker-T-Washington-Biography.htm
In 1901, Trotter and his friend, George W. Forbes, established the weekly news publication, Boston Guardian. Like many other publishers of African-American newspapers, Trotter and Forbes used their publication as a forum to not only expose racism and oppression, but to develop a voice for African-Americans throughout the United States. From its earliest printing, the Guardian was considered “the outstanding Negro newspaper devoted to political agitation.” The newspaper was important to fighting against lynching, disenfranchisement of African-Americans in the South, injustices occurring throughout the United States and segregation. In particular, Trotter used the Guardian to actively protest the following:
- Booker T. Washington’s philosophy of accommodation.
- Campaigned against Thomas Dixon’s play, The Clansman in 1905.
- Segregation in the workplaces of the federal government.
- Picketed Birth of a Nation in 1915.
W.E.B. Du Bois attested to the influence and effectiveness of the Guardian by writing, “The Guardian was bitter, satirical, and personal; but it was earnest, and it published facts. It attracted wide attention among colored people; it circulated among them all over the country; it was quoted and discussed. I did not wholly agree with the Guardian, and indeed only a few Negroes did, but nearly all read it and were influenced by it.”
Article source: http://afroamhistory.about.com/od/biographies/p/William-Monroe-Trotter-An-Uncompromising-Agitator.htm
Du Bois was born in Great Barrington, Mass on February 23, 1868. Throughout his childhood, he excelled in school and upon his graduation from high school, members of the community awarded Du Bois with a scholarship to attend Fisk University. While at Fisk, Du Bois experienced racism and poverty that was very different to his experiences in Great Barrington. As a result, Du Bois decided that he would dedicate his life to ending racism and uplifting African-Americans.
In 1888, Du Bois graduated from Fisk and was accepted to Harvard University where he earned a master’s degree, a doctorate and a fellowship to study for two years at the University of Berlin in Germany. Following his studies in Berlin, Du Bois argued that through racial inequality and injustice could be exposed through scientific research. However, after observing the remaining body parts of a man who was lynched, Du Bois was convinced that scientific research was not enough.
Article source: http://afroamhistory.about.com/od/biographies/p/W-E-B-Du-Bois-Innovative-Activist.htm