Three years ago I saw an American Experience documentary on William Monroe Trotter. His life story and Civil Rights work got my attention. After the program ended I went online to see if my library had a book about him. At the time they did not but by 2020, they would.
Kerri K. Greenidge who teaches in Tufts University’s Consortium of Studies in Race, Coalition, and Diaspora wrote this fascinating and thought provoking book on Trotter’s life.
He grew up in the mist of a failing Reconstruction. It began with the best intentions. However, after President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, Andrew Johnson would not enforce the Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments. If he and Congress had done so African Americans would have gained the the right to vote, citizenship, due process of the law and equal protections.
Instead the nation failed on it’s obligation and this left a mark on Trotter. As an adult he began a newspaper known as the Guardian and he used it to encourage his fellow African Americans to hold politicians accountable if they did not act on their promises to them.
Over several decades he and other African American leaders held rallies throughout Massachusetts. They met with local and state officials and they went to Washington, DC to present petitions calling on politicians to step up and ensure everyone receives equal treatment under the law.
It is my prayer one day no person will despise nor hate another person for any of the following or something else: skin color, sexuality, gender identity, spoken language, religion, or disability. May this be so because we are all human and we all only have one life on Earth.