Unlock Unforgettable Travel Adventures with Us!

The Niagara Movement

The Niagara Movement and its Impact on Niagara Falls

The Niagara Movement and its Impact on Niagara Falls


The Niagara Movement was a significant civil rights group founded in 1905 by a group of African American intellectuals and activists, including W.E.B. Du Bois. This movement aimed to fight racial discrimination and segregation in America, advocating for equal rights and opportunities for African Americans. The movement held a significant meeting near Niagara Falls in 1905, which became an iconic event in American civil rights history. This article provides a detailed account of the Niagara Movement and its profound impact on both Niagara Falls and the broader struggle for racial equality.

Origins of the Niagara Movement

The Niagara Movement was established as a direct response to the pervasive racism and segregation that prevailed in the United States during the early 20th century. Prior to its formation, African Americans faced systemic discrimination, including Jim Crow laws, and were denied their basic human rights. Recognizing the urgency of addressing these issues, a group of prominent African American scholars, writers, and activists gathered to create a platform for racial reform.

Founding Members and Goals

Leading figures, including W.E.B. Du Bois, William Monroe Trotter, and Ida B. Wells, were among the founding members of the Niagara Movement. Their primary goals were to secure civil rights for African Americans and to advocate for the abolition of racial discrimination, both de jure and de facto.

The 1905 Meeting near Niagara Falls

In the summer of 1905, the Niagara Movement organized a seminal meeting at Fort Erie, a town situated near Niagara Falls on the Canadian side of the border. The choice of location was symbolic, as Niagara Falls represented a landmark of natural beauty and power, standing as a testament to the majestic forces of nature and the historical significance of the region.

The meeting took place from July 11th to July 14th, with over 30 attendees, including notable figures such as W.E.B. Du Bois, William Monroe Trotter, Frederick Douglass, and Booker T. Washington. The site of the meeting was a black church located in Fort Erie, Ontario, just miles away from the awe-inspiring Niagara Falls.

Discussion and Outcomes

During the four days of the convention, the participants engaged in passionate debates and discussions regarding racial issues and strategies to combat segregation. The attendees discussed education, voting rights, job opportunities, and other crucial aspects that affected the lives of African Americans.

One of the key outcomes of the meeting was the creation of the “Declaration of Principles”, a manifesto that addressed the significant challenges faced by the African American community. The declaration condemned racial inequality, called for equal voting rights, access to education, and equal treatment under the law.

Impact on Civil Rights Movements

The Niagara Movement laid the groundwork for future civil rights organizations, paving the way for the establishment of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1909. Several former members of the Niagara Movement, including W.E.B. Du Bois, played crucial roles in founding the NAACP. This subsequent organization became a driving force in the fight against segregation and discrimination throughout the 20th century.

Connection to Niagara Falls

The Niagara Movement’s association with Niagara Falls had a profound effect on its historical significance. The iconic beauty and power of the falls symbolized the potential strength and unity of the African American community. Additionally, by holding their meeting near Niagara Falls, the movement showcased their commitment to change, drawing attention to their cause both locally and nationally.

The Niagara Falls gathering offered a unique opportunity for the movement’s members to bond and reflect on the power of natural phenomenon in contrast to the oppression they faced in society. The experience of being in the presence of such grandeur likely invigorated and solidified their determination to fight for racial equality.

Legacy and Commemoration

The Niagara Movement has left an indelible mark on the history of civil rights in the United States. The movement’s dedication to combating racial discrimination served as a catalyst for subsequent movements and organizations fighting for racial justice. Its impact can still be felt today in ongoing efforts to achieve equality and confront systemic racism.

Niagara Falls also recognizes and commemorates the historical significance of the Niagara Movement. The region’s museums, such as the Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center, acknowledge the movement’s role in shaping the fight for civil rights. The Fort Erie church, where the meeting took place, has been designated as a national historic site in Canada.


The Niagara Movement played a pivotal role in the struggle for racial equality in the United States. Its historic meeting near Niagara Falls brought together prominent African American leaders and thinkers to discuss and challenge systemic racism. Through their dedication, the movement laid the groundwork for future civil rights organizations and inspired generations to continue the fight for justice and equality.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This