The importance of the Niagara Movement in african american history

Essay by volleyballa2328 February 2005

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The Niagara Movement was one of the most influential movements in American history. The ideals that they encouraged pushed blacks to fight for true equality. Equality was just a word to so many blacks for it had never been realized in their lives. Most blacks just settled for the right to be a citizen but the Niagara movement encouraged the fighting for the same rights as those of a white man. Without this movement there's no telling where blacks would be today.

In 1895, Booker T Washington made a, now famous speech, to the citizens of Atlanta. He encouraged blacks to stop fighting segregation and second-class citizenship and concentrate on learning useful skills. His philosophy was to progress up the social and economic ladder and improve ones self so that the white men wouldn't see blacks as inferior but educated. These ideas were known as the Atlanta Compromise. Washington was not telling blacks to accept inferiority but to ignore it.

At the time, Washington's proposal brought mixed feelings in the black community and it was influential because, at the time pushing equality by force, would have done no good, but ten years later segregation was still at full force and for a special group of blacks, this was not acceptable.

At the beginning of the 20th century, Washington's ideas were no longer prevalent because they had not softened the heart of the white population and the fact was, that the only way to deal with it was to fight it. Washington felt that blacks must lift themselves, by their own bootstraps but that they must also accommodate themselves to the white prejudices. William E. Du Bois was a prominent militant who was fed up with "accommodating to the white prejudices" and exposed the weaknesses of Washington's strategies. He led a...