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Newspaper The Guardian (Boston, Mass.) 1901-1960

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About The Guardian (Boston, Mass.) 1901-1960

On November 9, 1901, the Boston Guardian was first published in Boston, Massachusetts. William Monroe Trotter and George Forbes, former publisher of the Boston Courant and a reference librarian at the Boston Public Library, were the publishers. Trotter was the editor of the newspaper from its beginnings until his death in 1934. It was a weekly publication, coming out on Saturdays, that was aimed primarily at Boston’s African American community, though eventually it had significant readership across the United States.

The paper’s content reflected Trotter’s political views, championing a militant advocacy for civil rights for African Americans, in stark contrast to racial accommodationists such as Booker T. Washington. The newspaper was stridently non-partisan, endorsing Republican and Democratic political candidates solely based on their views on civil rights for African Americans.

As civil rights activist W. E. B. Du Bois wrote in 1940, “The Guardian was bitter, satirical, and personal; but it was earnest, and it published facts. It attracted wide attention among colored people; it circulated among them all over the country; it was quoted and discussed. I did not wholly agree with the Guardian, and indeed only a few Negroes did, but nearly all read it and were influenced by it.”

Trotter, a Harvard graduate and the son of a member of the 54th Massachusetts Regiment from the Civil War, notably visited the White House to personally take President Wilson to task for resegregating the federal service. He also fought to ensure that the Massachusetts civil service was integrated. His reporting highlighted the scourge of lynching across the nation, and he pushed for anti-lynching laws.

Politicians knew that Trotter would note in his paper their lack of support come election time and acted accordingly. In 1914 the Guardian supported David I. Walsh’s gubernatorial candidacy. During Walsh’s term, there was significant public outcry about the controversial film The Birth of a Nation due to its racist content. Knowing what he owed Trotter, Walsh met with Trotter and afterwards voiced his public support for banning showings of the film in Massachusetts. Trotter also later pushed Walsh to come out against employment discrimination at Medfield State Hospital.

Trotter passed suddenly after falling off the roof of his house on April 7, 1934. Maud Trotter Steward, Trotter’s sister, then took over the duties of editor and publisher. The newspaper was published until the late 1950s, with the last known issue published on April 20, 1957.

Provided By: MA - Boston Public LIbrary

About this Newspaper


  • The Guardian (Boston, Mass.) 1901-1960

Dates of Publication

  • 1901-1960

Created / Published

  • Boston, Mass. : Guardian Pub. Co.


  • -  African Americans--New England--Newspapers
  • -  Boston (Mass.)--Newspapers
  • -  African Americans
  • -  Massachusetts--Boston
  • -  New England
  • -  United States--Massachusetts--Suffolk--Boston


  • Newspapers


  • -  Weekly
  • -  Vol. 1, no. 1 (Nov. 9, 1901)-
  • -  Ceased in 1960?
  • -  "America's greatest race journal."
  • -  Available on microfilm from the New York Public Library.
  • -  Continued by: Boston guardian (non-extant).
  • -  Latest issue consulted: (Apr. 20, 1957).
  • -  Boston guardian


  • volumes

Library of Congress Control Number

  • sn83045863

OCLC Number

  • 9930768

ISSN Number

  • 2996-1319

Additional Metadata Formats


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Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

The Guardian Boston, Mass. -1960. (Boston, MA), Jan. 1 1901.

APA citation style:

(1901, January 1) The Guardian Boston, Mass. -1960. Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

The Guardian Boston, Mass. -1960. (Boston, MA) 1 Jan. 1901. Retrieved from the Library of Congress,