Booker T. Washington and the Struggle against White Supremacy Report Booker T. Washington was a preeminent leader in the African American community. His titles that he wore ranged anywhere from a teacher to a survivalist. Whichever he was called he made a change. Born into slavery Booker Taliaferro Washington was what they called a mullato. He was mixed he didn’t know his white father and his mother was mullato a slave on a plantation. He worked an s a servant in his child hood; he was born in 1856 so he lived through the civil war.
Booker T. worked in coal mines in West Virginia, and then he heard about a school for blacks later known as Hampton institute that was founded by Chapman Armstrong, who later became his mentor. He attended the school and progressed rapidly into a smart young man who had a business mind. Chapman recommended Booker T to build and lead a school in Tuskegee Alabama in 1881. Built off a Hampton model Washington got the job done with the help of his students starting from scratch the made their own bricks and planted their own food.
It became one of the finest black schools of its day. Many people worked at the school or patron the school such as George Washington Carver and Patrons like WEB Du Bois. The school was known for their excellent food and the education the students acquired while learning skills. Many people recognized his talents and leadership skills he went on to become an advisor to President Theodore Roosevelt and the organizer of the National Negro Business League (NNBL). He was known for his intricate speech and his witty business approach to life.
Though he strike the attention of many uppity whites, many blacks began to see him in a sellout, a kiss up, and other terms that made him seem un-black because the choices he made and actions. He seemed to the people as the white man’s stool pigeon. Many seen this as a bad thing but Washington still stood up for the black community and made sure he stayed good with the whites. Though he was a mullato there was still many racist who did not embrace the witty mullato.
Many racist views in the 19th century were addressed by other black leaders but many blacks felt like Washington did not care about their views it was almost as if he was agreeing with the views many racist had. Many racist say that Negroes were happy to be faithful servants. The way Washington responded to a view such as this would be “ Cast down your buckets where you are,” it is kind of a way of saying they were not content with being ‘faithful servants’ and it was his way of encouraging blacks to do better. They had seen the Negroes as less than human. They said that Negroes were an unskilled, ignorant and dependant race.
They proved this view throughout history because they had the three-fifths compromise and other laws set out specifically for the Negroes. They did not want the African Americans to have the same rights or be equal to them in anyway. Washington response to this situation to the Negroes would be “I will not permit any man to narrow and degrade my soul by making me hate him. ” He would also have a response for the whites, which they favored him for, “In all things that are purely social we can be as separate as the fingers, yet as one as the hand in all things essential to mutual progress. The message he was sending to the Negroes was he would not act out or do things to show the whites that he hated them. He wanted them to know yes they do us wrong but he did not think they deserved the satisfaction of him hating them for it. The whites showed their hate for blacks in harsh ways. They still committed rape and lynched blacks. This brings me to a valid point Washington made he said, “We do not want the men of another color for our brothers-in-law, but we do want them for our brothers. This showed how the whites seemed to despise the blacks sleeping with a white person but when it came to business or labor they wanted us to be their brothers. Yet they were still raping Black women. That’s how Booker T. Washington came about. Even he being as recognized as he was many racist still viewed mullatoes as the curse of the south the mixing of ’Negros’ bestiality with white intelligence. Though this point may sound rather dumb, even his mentor Chapman Armstrong felt that Booker T. Washington’s intelligence was due to the white in him.
On the other side he wants the whites to know he was fine with being separate from them, he was all for black improvement and empowerment, but when it came to mutual progress we should be together. He was not worried about the way they wanted blacks away from them in social aspects but he did want to progress as a race but mostly as a whole nation. Many whites enjoyed this point a view he had on this situation this was a survival tactic Washington seemed to have down pact. Washington had many survivalist tactics; he seemed to know how to appeal to he whites. Washington was a pragmatist who engaged in deliberate ambiguity in order to sustain white recognition. He knew exactly what to say to please them and keep the whites feeling superior. Many Blacks saw him as a compromise. Due to this fact some Blacks did not like Washington because his views and position he held as the white man’s favorite. In his tactics he manage to become the primary exponent of white philanthropic- industrial efforts, to get African-Americans and the working class white education to meet the needs of industrial America.
He was the instrument of elite white industrialist such as George Foster Peabody and Robert C. Ogden. They seemed to have shaped the major shift of black education from state supported public education to something that accommodates them and kept them superior, industrial education. They liked Washington because he delivered the skills and tools to blacks for industrial education. Amongst all other tactics he had Washington just seemed to offer the doctrine of accommodation in social and political inequality for blacks while training them for economic self-determination in the industrial arts.
Washington said himself that “I believe that any man’s life will be filled with constant and unexpected encouragement, if he makes up his mind to do his level best each day, and as nearly as possible reaching the high water mark of pure useful living. ” What he was getting across is his philosophy on life. He reached high everyday and he reached his high water mark because he tried his best. That to me is the greatest survivalist tactic Washington used because it made him one of the most trusted African Americans in history on a national stand point.
All these survival tactics he put forth got the blacks better living conditions. They lived in places where they did not have to share with twenty other blacks and they had their own food and space. This was due to all the hard work of him providing education to the blacks. Once he got all the education well on the way he went on lecture tours to “share the wits‘. ” The first city they toured was Mississippi, the Magnolia State, in October 1908. The state was called the “heartland of American Apartheid,” by Neil mc Millen. After reconstruction the state was still segregated.
It was said that the people there felt it was no need for Jim Crow laws. Between 1900 and 1909, 144 African Americans were lynched. The Blacks there were struggling economically like they were still enslaved. Mississippi was the poorest states in the Union. They still lived like slavery was going on well after reconstruction . After the civil war Blacks politics rights were taken away for fraud it seemed to go downhill from there. They imposed poll taxes, literacy requirements, prohibited voting for those who had been convicted for anything from perjury to burglary.
The educational value for the blacks in Mississippi is something like their rights very poor. Blacks paid the same disproportionate fees as the whites but did not receive the same quality of education as the whites. Mississippi’s blacks only received nineteen of the states funds for their education but they accounted for sixty percent of the school age population. Mostly because whites believed that if they limited their education they could limit their achievements economically and socially. With these horrible conditions in Mississippi Washington was shocked when the large crowd came out to these meetings.
He went there at the request of the John F. Slater board. When he seen the amount of successful blacks there he was so shocked. Although he went to speak to blacks, some whites showed up. From what Washington could see and based on previous visit’s the Blacks there were making progress. The success of the trip showed Washington that these tours had the potential to strengthen the black community and encourage leadership. He went on to plan more tours his next step was in a good direction the Volunteer state. This tour was to the Volunteer State, Tennessee in November 1909.
Washington was invited to the volunteer state by one of his good friends James Napier, one of the founders of the Nashville chapter of the National Negro Business League. He asked Napier to make sure blacks as well as Whites and then he wanted to speak at a white institution of learning so that the faculty and students would be there. Having the whites attend was one of Washington’s strategies he needed to show them the progress African Americans were making. He also wanted to win them over with his “the best whites” speech.
With the support of the northern whites it would help future progress. When he got to Tennessee he was quite pleased with the turnout. He wanted to reduce the stereotypical views whites had for blacks he showed the successful blacks, the business owners, professionals‘, and even those slacks who graduated with degrees, which were hard to acquire. They appreciated him showing them things like he did and hoped he would do the same in North Carolina. The last lecture tour was held in Florida, the Sunshine State, in March 1912. He went after leaving Texas.
He had caused a stir in the White House; President Roosevelt invited him to dinner in the White House. Floridians felt that he was out of line for accepting the invitation. No one considered Florida to be a Deep South state and some even considered it to be a paradise for blacks. However Florida led in the number of lynchings between 1880 and 1930. Washington’s tour in Florida would be named his most important educational trip he made. Florida had a very intense Jim Crow travel code so it made it hard to for him to maneuver as wanted.
Failure to comply with those restrictions could lead to execution. After crossing those hindrances Washington went on to speak at tons of schools and other platforms. As he went to different places throughout Florida he gained more supporters. This final tour got more recognition than any other city Washington had visited. Major White newspapers also covered the trip. The endorsements Washington got from Florida boosted his credibility and showed Washington’s disbelievers that he had the support of black leaders and black aristocra