Pioneering Civil Rights Activists of Niagara Movement Explored in New Documentary


November 1, 2023

The history of one of the early American civil rights movements is being detailed in a documentary premiering soon on PBS.

The Niagara Movement, named after a meeting initially planned for Buffalo but ultimately held in Fort Erie, Canada, was a pivotal moment in the fight for civil rights in America. This movement emerged as a direct challenge to Booker T. Washington’s advocation for vocational training as a means of progress for Black individuals, without pressing for full social and political equality.

In contrast, leaders like W.E.B. Du Bois and William Monroe Trotter vehemently argued for complete civil rights. And they were key members in the founding of The Niagara Movement in the 1900s. 

The Niagara Movement pursued legal avenues to secure civil liberties for Black Americans and laid the groundwork for the founding of the NAACP, which was co-founded by Du Bois.

This history is of great significance and deserves wider recognition. And the documentary “The Niagara Movement: The Early Battle for Civil Rights” aims to highlight that story.


The one-hour doc is produced by WNED PBS and directed by Lawrence Holt.

It will premiere on November 6 at 9 p.m. EST on WNED PBS and Buffalo Toronto Public Media’s YouTube Channel.

The documentary will then be available for national streaming through American Public Television in February 2024.

Photo by Public Domain


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