William Monroe Trotter sometimes just Monroe Trotter was a newspaper editor and real estate businessman based in Boston, Massachusetts, and an activist for African-American civil rights. He was an early opponent of the accommodationist race policies of Booker T. Washington, and in 1901 founded the Boston Guardian, an independent African-American newspaper, as a vehicle to express that opposition. In 1914 he had a highly publicized meeting with President Woodrow Wilson, in which he protested Wilson's introduction of segregation into the federal workplace. In Boston, Trotter succeeded in 1910 in shutting down productions of The Clansman but he was unsuccessful in 1915 with screenings of the movie Birth of a Nation, which also portrayed the Ku Klux Klan in favorable terms
On the evening of March 21, 1915, President Woodrow Wilson attended a special screening at the White House of THE BIRTH OF A NATION, a film directed by D.W. Griffith and based on THE CLANSMAN, a novel written by Wilson's good friend Thomas Dixon.
After seeing the film, an enthusiastic Wilson reportedly remarked: "It is like writing history with lightning, and my only regret is that it is all so terribly true."
He was not able to influence the peace talks at the end of World War I, and was in later years a marginalized voice of protest. In an alliance with Roman Catholics, in 1921 he did get a revival screening banned of Birth of a Nation. He died on his 62nd birthday after a possibly suicidal fall from his Boston home.
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