From Niagara to now

February 8, 2021

Last updated: February 15, 2021

For the week of Feb. 8, 2021, the main image on the library's homepage showed athlete and activist Colin Kaepernick (foreground), with youth delegates from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) posing with W.E.B. DuBois in 1929.

More than two decades before the NAACP photo was taken, DuBois, alongside William Monroe Trotter — the namesake of the University of Michigan's Trotter Center — had organized the Niagara Movement. It was considered a precursor to the NAACP’s founding in 1908.

You can learn more about the NAACP's history and current initiatives on its website — which include issues around economic sustainability, health, and political representation — along with its programs for youth and college students.

Advocates for justice

NAACP youth delegates in 1929 (background), and Colin Kaepernick.

Before Kaepernick dropped a knee, organizers such as Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi were mobilizing for Black lives.

Their call for #BlackLivesMatter has been an organized movement dedicated to nonviolent protest and awareness building of police brutality, racial inequality, and injustice.

Kaepernick, having amplified these efforts as one of many athletes penalized for peacefully protesting racial injustice, is also the co-founder of Know Your Rights Camp.

In 2018, he was awarded the W.E.B. DuBois Medal honoring “significant contributions to African and African-American history and culture [by] individuals who advocate for intercultural understanding and human rights in an increasingly global and interconnected world.”

Looking for related nonfiction? See our selection of books available for checkout now on OverDrive, as well as tips for searching for antiracism resources in the library’s catalog.

About our website images 

For all of February 2021, we’re sharing images that reflect on the significance of contemporary Black leaders in the United States alongside the work of the activists who came before them, and their fight for equitable representation and justice.

To kick off the month, we honored Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden.

Colin Kaepernick.

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