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Members of the Niagara Movement pose near Niagara Falls in 1905.
In 1905, W. E. B. Du Bois and other African American intellectuals met in Niagara Falls and formed a group called the Niagara Movement—named because of the location and the “mighty current” of protest they wished to unleash. This movement sought full civil liberties for people of African descent. Its goals became the founding principles of the NAACP.
One hundred years later, it is fitting that Buffalo State should play a prominent role in commemorating that historic meeting by cosponsoring a conference and lecture series.
ASALH National Conference in Buffalo
This year, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) will hold its national conference, “The Niagara Movement: Black Protest Reborn 1905–2005,” October 5–9 at the Hyatt Regency Buffalo hotel. Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, Victor S. Thomas Professor of History and of African and African American Studies at Harvard University, will give a lecture titled “An Open Letter to Condoleezza Rice.” The keynote address will be delivered by Julius Chambers, one of the most successful and renowned civil rights lawyers in the United States.
Felix Armfield, associate professor of history and social studies education, is co-chair of the program with Lillian Williams, chair and associate professor of African-American Studies at the University at Buffalo. It is hosted by the Afro-American Historical Association of the Niagara Frontier. For more information, visit www.asalh.org.
Niagara Movement Lecture Series
Wanda Davis, associate professor of educational foundations, with Armfield and Shelia Martin, assistant professor of English at Erie Community College, received a major grant from the New York Council for the Humanities, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, to sponsor a Distinguished Lecture Series titled “What Price Freedom? The Centennial Celebration of the Niagara Movement in Buffalo, New York.”
The first lecture on September 15 will feature a documentary film. Other lectures will examine connections between the Pan-American Exposition of 1901 and the founding of the Niagara Movement, the communities in Canada built by former slaves who reached freedom there, and the importance of the Michigan Street Baptist Church in the civil rights struggle of the early twentieth century. Details of the lecture series are at http://www.buffalostate.edu/niagaramovement.