W.E.B. Du Bois wanted to see racism and the lynchings of our people STOPPED already. It was 1905! We deserved equal rights IMMEDIATELY. But he had a problem.
Booker T. Washington, a popular Black leader, called for our people to accept segregation and to gain whites’ respect first – by showing racists we could “work hard” and “elevate ourselves.” Du Bois was infuriated. “Respectability” was NOT the way!
He had already called Washington to the floor with his book The Souls of Black Folk. But he had to up the ante!
So he started an organization that would demand our rights immediately, without compromise. It would be the first of its kind!
He was forced to relocate the group’s first meeting to Niagara Falls in Canada, because hotels in New York refused to serve Black people. That little hiccup wouldn’t stop them, though!
He called the group the Niagara Movement, and kept it moving!
Washington undermined the group by using his network to publicly speak against it, but there was still something wonderful that came from this rivalry.
With Du Bois at the helm, the NAACP was founded, which changed the fight for our rights forever.
Fighting against racism is complex and demands a multifaceted strategy. But no matter what, we will never compromise about our freedom!