"There is clearly a hero in this well-documented, very readable volume: William Monroe Trotter (1872-1934), the Boston-born founder and leader of the National Equal Rights League."
—David M. Kinchen, Huntington News Network Book Critic
"[O]riginal and insightful material on African American activism. The most valuable contribution Patler makes here is inscribing into the historical record the life and career of William Monroe Trotter. The Harvard-educated Trotter was a fiery race man who advocated forthright protest against Jim Crow, initially as founder and editor of the Boston Guardian, and then in the early eyears of the Wilson presidency as founder of the National Independent Political League (NIPL), a group made up of prominent African American professionals."
—John A. Kirk, Royal Holloway, University of London
In Jim Crow and the Wilson Administration, Nicholas Patler presents the first in-depth study of the historic protest movement that challenged federal racial segregation and discrimination during the first two years of Woodrow Wilson's presidency. Before the Wilson years, as southern states and localities enshrined Jim Crow—in law and custom—and systematic racial discrimination infiltrated the North, the executive branch of the federal government moved in the opposite direction by opening federal employment to thousands of African Americans, appointing blacks to federal and diplomatic offices throughout the country and the world. Finding support from the federal government, many African Americans, supported Wilson's democratic campaign, dubbed the "New Freedom," with hopes of continuing advancement. But as president, the southern-born Wilson openly supported and directly implemented a Jim Crow policy in the federal departments unleashing a firestorm of protest.
This protest campaign, carried out on a level not seen since the abolitionist movement, galvanized a vast community of men and women. Blacks and whites, professionals and laymen, signed petitions, wrote protest letters, participated in organized mass meetings, lobbied public officials, directly confronted Wilson, made known their plight through publicity campaigns, and, in at least one case, marched to express their opposition. Patler provides a thorough examination of the two national organizations that led these protests efforts—the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and William Monroe Trotter's National Equal Rights League—and deftly contextualizes the movement, while emphasizing the tragic, enduring consequences of the Wilson administration's actions.
Nicholas Patler talks about the book on C-SPAN.