When United States President-elect Joseph Biden recently stated “The African American community stood up again for me. They always have my back, and I’ll have yours,” during an early victory speech, he articulated the kind of accountability for which Black newspaper editor and activist William Monroe Trotter dedicated his life. In 1901 the Harvard University graduate and W. E. B. DuBois contemporary founded The Guardian newspaper as an instrument for Black uplift. He was a staunch proponent of Black political independence that did not wed Black support to a particular political party. Instead, Trotter encouraged Black people to only support those politicians—whether Democratic or Republican—that clearly furthered Black interests. After confronting President Woodrow Willson–face to face—about the many Black votes Wilson received, based on promises he did not remotely attempt to keep, Trotter, became widely known as a sincere and uncompromising political strategist. He implored Black people to—above all—hold politicians who benefit from Black voters, accountable.
In the current post-election climate, lessons from William Monroe Trotter’s activism—both his accomplishments and defeats—may offer valuable insight on how Black people collect and secure pre-election political promises. Click here to learn from a great Black activist and strategist, unrelenting in his commitment to Black people.