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William Monroe Trotter Quotes


William Monroe Trotter
  • Mini Bio
  • Name: William Monroe Trotter
  • Born: 7th April 1872, Chillicothe, Ohio, U.S.
  • Died: 7th April 1934, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
  • Occupation: Editor and civil rights activist
  • Shock events: Involved in an angry verbal exchange with then president Woodrow Wilson
  • Alma mater: Harvard University
  • Best known for: Founding the Boston Guardian in 1901
  • Scroll down for full bio and many great quotes

"Harvard was an inspiration to me because it was the exemplar of true American freedom, equality, and real democracy"

William Monroe Trotter

"The Guardian is precarious. That had been (its) condition for several years… Principle robs it of much money (yet) I had rather have people criticize my poverty than get money against my principles"

William Monroe Trotter

"The Colored people, will be weak just as long as they remain too selfish or unintelligent to donate to such a paper as the Guardian as an instrument for their welfare"

William Monroe Trotter

"Have you a new freedom for White Americans and a new slavery for your Afro-American fellow citizens? God forbid" [said to President Woodrow Wilson in the White House]

William Monroe Trotter

"We are not here as wards. We are not here as dependents. We are not here looking for charity or help. We are fully-fledged American citizens vouchsafed equality of citizenship by the federal constitution"

William Monroe Trotter

"My vocation has been to wage a crusade against lynching"

William Monroe Trotter

"We claim for ourselves every single right that belongs to a freeborn American, political, civil and social"

William Monroe Trotter

"Unless the white American behaves, he will find that in teaching our boys to fight for him he was starting something that he will not be able to stop"

William Monroe Trotter

"If race prejudice and persecution and public discrimination from mere color was to spread up from the South and result in a fixed caste of color"

William Monroe Trotter

"Segregation was a public humiliation and degradation, entirely unmerited, and far-reaching in its injurious effects"

William Monroe Trotter

"No do I care how much they carp about money. The Guardian is run solely for the Colored people"

William Monroe Trotter

"Washington's attitude has ever been one of servility"

William Monroe Trotter

"The fight means nothing if one man pays the bills"

William Monroe Trotter

"Booker must be checkmated and we must study how to do it"

William Monroe Trotter

"I am part of the people Mr President"

William Monroe Trotter

"For every right, with all thy might"

William Monroe Trotter

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William Monroe Trotter Biography

William Monroe Trotter was a lifetime activist in the American civil rights movement, he used his investments in real estate to fund the Boston Guardian newspaper which he founded in 1901 and used it to actively protest all forms of racial discrimination.



Trotter's belligerent tone gained as many enemies as it did admirers and he often found himself criticised in the press for his unyielding stance on civil rights issues. He even had the gaul to beligerently berate Prsident Woodrow Wilson during a White House meeting that left the president taken aback by his passionate tone.

William Monroe was a man born ahead of his time as many of his ideas were shunned as too radical by his peers and fellow social activists such as W.E.B. Du Bois and Booker T. Washington, however these same ideas were later taken up by the civil rights movement as it progressed through the 1950's and 1960's.

As an articulate man who never minced his words he was known for many good one liners, so this is my list of 16 of the best William Monroe Trotter quotes.

Quotes About William Monroe Trotter

The activist Kelley Miller paid the great man this tribute: "Monroe Trotter died a martyr to his race. I have known every agitator for racial rights who has stood out conspicuously for the past 40 years. Trotter stands out as the unrivalled and unmatched leader of his generation. He was not a radical but a courageous agitator for Constitutional and guaranteed rights. He sought no change in existing law nor the overthrow of existing order. His mission was not to destroy but to fulfill"

Woodrow Wilson in an effort to deflect the issues of his infamous meeting with Trotter said: "Let us leave politics out of it. If the colored people made a mistake voting for me, they ought to correct it and vote against me if they think so. I don't want politics brought into it at all"

Woodrow Wilson went on to famously say: "It takes the world generations to outlive all its prejudices"

In a tense White House meeting Woodrow Wilson called Monroe Trotter: "The only American citizen that has ever come into this office who has talked to me in a tone with a background of passion that was evident. ... You have spoiled the whole cause for which you came"

Woodrow Wilson later regretted his emotional outburst: "Never raise an incident into an issue. When the negro delegate threatened me. I was a damn fool to lose my temper and to point to the door"

The historian Lerone Bennett described him thus: "In the end, he was a dialogue that History carried on with itself"

The activist W.E.B. Du Bois gave this assessment: "I did not wholly agree with the Guardian, and indeed only a few Negroes did, but nearly all read it and were influenced by it"


William Monroe Trotter quote