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Thu, 10.03.1872

Geraldine Trotter, Publisher, and Activist born

Geraldine P. Trotter

*Geraldine Trotter was born on this date in 1872.  She was a Black publisher, editor, writer, and activist. 

From Everett, MA., Geraldine Pindell was the daughter of Charles Edward Pindell and Mary Francis Pindell.  Pindell received her initial education at the Everett Grammar School, then matriculated to a local business college. For ten years after completing her studies, Pindell Trotter worked as an accountant for the Eli Cooley Company. During this time, Pindell Trotter met W. E. B DuBois and the two kept in touch for years after he finished his studies at Harvard. Dubois later recalled his desire to have courted her and lamented his inability to do so. Pindell Trotter, having known William Monroe Trotter since childhood, married him following his graduation from Harvard.

Both individual's families were supportive, and aside from the fact that the Pindell's were Northern in origin and the Trotter's Southern, there was no contention between each.  The young pair moved into the middle-class Dorchester area of Boston following marriage, at 97 Sawyer Avenue. Monroe Trotter shortly entered into the real estate business, working with mostly white clients. As Monroe Trotter's real estate venture increasingly garnered success, Pindell Trotter stopped working. Entertaining elite guests occupied a significant amount of Pindell Trotter's time thereafter. Notable individuals Pindell Trotter entertained included DuBois and his family, but also included the lawyer Archibald Grimke and his family.  The Trotters remained childless throughout their marriage, and Pindell Trotter told friends she had no desire to have children, as their busy lives would not allow for proper care. Pindell Trotter aided the City of Boston and surrounding areas often over the course of her life.

In Roxbury, Pindell Trotter imparted her skills upon a local community aid center, St. Monica's Home. A bastion for African American women and children in need of care, St. Monica's in Dorchester was episcopalian, mirroring Pindell Trotter's religion. Pindell Trotter, variably, was also involved in the Public-School Association, the Boston Literary and Historical Society, Women's Anti Lynching League, and the Equal Rights Association.  Pindell Trotter dedicated herself to the welfare of African American soldiers in World War I and the Soldiers Comfort Units, notably aiding the 519th engineers at Fort Devens. Pindell Trotter, with her husband William, also demonstrated against a second run showing of The Birth of a Nation. 

When George W. Forbes created The Boston Guardian in 1901, Monroe Trotter quickly became involved.  In the wake of the Boston Riot of 1903, at which Monroe Trotter was arrested, Pindell Trotter rushed to the paper's aid as an editor in her husband's place and assumed bookkeeping duties too.  With Monroe Trotter recurrently in jail for his activities, and Forbes gone, Pindell Trotter assumed most of the paper's required duties and became a key aspect to the future direction of the paper.  Pindell Trotter also wrote columns on fashion and household management, attempting to attract female readership at her husband's behest.  

The Guardian, under the direction of the Trotters, often disparaged the eminence of Booker T. Washington in the public domain. Washington's ideation of working for equality without pressing for it stood in direct opposition to Trotter's philosophy.  Washington himself worked tirelessly against the newspaper's agenda, which included militant civil rights promotion and other rights causes. Dubois asked the Trotter's to join the recently founded NAACP, however, the Trotter's refused over objection to the organization's white leadership.  

She raised money for St. Monica’s Home and advocated for Black troops during World War I.  Geraldine Pindell Trotter died October 8, 1918 due to influenza.  Pindell Trotter was only forty-six at the time of her passing. She was buried in the Fairview Cemetery of Hyde Park. After her death, The Guardian included a tribute to her from her husband: he called her his “fallen Comrade” who gave her life “for the rights of her race.”  W.E.B Dubois reminisced sadly in his autobiography that she, "had given up all thought of children," and that she had forfeited her "comfortable home," to help her husband, "in utter devotion, living and lunching with him in the Guardian office, and knowing hunger and cold." Dubois said of their ended union that it was, "a magnificent partnership, and she died to pay for it."  The Trotter's first home in Dorchester, the William Monroe Trotter House, was designated a National Historic Landmark in recognition of their significance in the civil rights cause.


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