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Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum, Staunton, Virginia


Wilson’s cabinet began segregating federal bureaus in 1913. Wilson received many letters asking him to end segregation, but he gave no response until November 1914 when a delegation of African-American editors headed by William Monroe Trotter confronted him. After voicing his support for segregation, Wilson ended the interview, declaring he was offended by Trotter’s tone and saying he “had never been addressed in such fashion since he entered the White House” (CS24).

Wilson said nothing to the press during the controversy over the Trotter Incident and only responded to one constituent. What follows is the American people's reaction to the Trotter Incident, in their own words.