Tuesday, December 18, 2007


TROTTER, WILLIAM MONROE W. Monroe Trotter (1872-1934) was the first black Phi Beta Kappa at Harvard University. Following his graduation from Harvard in 1895, Trotter founded the Boston Guardian, one of the few black newspapers in the United States which was not financed or otherwise controlled by Booker T. Washington's "Tuskegee Machine." Trotter, as editor of the Guardian, was one of the earliest outspoken black opponents of Washington's "work and wait" accommodation program for American blacks. Editorial after editorial poured scorn upon Washington, who Trotter called the "Benedict Arnold of the Negro race."

Similar to W. E. B. Du Bois, Trotter condemned Washington as "a leader who looks with equanimity on the disfranchisement of his race in a country where other races have universal suffrage by constitutions that make one rule for his race and another for the dominant race." On another occasion, Trotter suggested that Washington was little more than a white man's pawn. "If Mr. Washington is in any sense the leader of the Colored American people, he certainly has been chosen for that position by the white American race. White churches, white clubs, and the white press have insisted he is the leader of our race — a sign that they intend to master the Colored Race by means of Mr. Washington." See also: W. E. B. DU BOIS, TUSKEGEE MACHINE and BOOKER T. WASHINGTON.

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