What black woman journalist was society editor for the Boston Guardian in the early 1900s?

Geraldine “Deenie” Pindell Trotter (1872–1918) was an editor, activist, entrepreneur, and civic worker. She came from a family of Boston militants and moved in Boston’s elite black militant society as a staunch supporter of activism. In the 1850s, her uncle had led a movement to integrate public schools in Boston. Both Geraldine and her partner and husband William Monroe Trotter were dedicated to the cause of equal rights. She became society editor for the Boston Guardian, a journal that promoted equal rights for African Americans. It was founded by Monroe Trotter, W.E.B. Du Bois, and other black militants and anti-Booker T. Washington supporters. When the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People was founded in 1909, Geraldine Trotter became a member. She had joined the failing Niagara Movement but resigned because of internal conflict; it soon lost out to a new organization, the NAACP. Monroe Trotter’s illness, around 1916, and subsequent imprisonment catapulted Geraldine Trotter to a higher leadership role at the paper. Then she saw first-hand the realities of racial agitation. Beyond the Guardian, Geraldine Trotter had a number of civic interests, including supporting the Saint Monica’s Home for elderly black women. Later on, she formed a woman’s antilynching committee and also joined the National Equal Rights League, which Monroe Trotter had helped to establish. During World War I she spoke before black soldiers at Camp Devens and she continued other efforts on behalf of the men. Her friend W.E.B. Du Bois said at her death that she “died as one whom death cannot conquer.”

The building that once housed the offices of the Chicago Defender.


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