How Did His Writing Help Shape Civil RIghts

Timothy Thomas Fortune
Leslie Taylor-Grover
October 25, 2020

Timothy Thomas Fortune never forgot the horrific racist violence he’d witnessed as a boy at the hands of the KKK. It terrified him – and it motivated him to fight back. How?

Fortune became not only an influential writer but also an outspoken civil rights leader. But he did not like what he was hearing from other leaders. 

His friend, Booker T. Washington, was calling for Black people to overlook racism and demonstrate Black excellence to “earn respect!” Fortune had other ideas.

He was now editor of the most influential Black newspaper in the nation. He believed we should fight back against racism and demand our rights. He wrote powerfully about civil rights, retaliation, and Black political independence!

But he was far from finished.

He started the National Afro-American League to bring justice for all the suffering the law, hatred, and white silence had cost our people. He worked with Marcus Garvey, Ida B. Wells, and wrote books about resisting white violence himself. So how powerful was his pen?

The NAAL was one of the earliest Civil Rights organizations, helping inspire the Pan-African Movement, the Niagara Movement, and the NAACP. 

Fortune’s work shows that we can refocus our trauma and use our gifts to uplift our people. How will you use your gifts for liberation?

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