Booker T. Washington
Washington Was Freed From Slavery At Age Nine And Worked In The Coal Mines Of Virginia During His Youth. In 1881, He Founded The All-Black, Tuskegee Normal & Industrial Institute, In Alabama.
Booker T. Washington Delivered What Some Consider One Of The Most Important Speeches Of The 20th Century, On September 18, 1895. The Atlanta Compromise, As It Is Known, Was Given At The Cotton States And International Exposition, In Atlanta, Georgia.
Washington's Speech Has Been Described As Conciliatory, Among Other Things. In It He Advised Black Americans To Put Less Focus On Social Advancement And Become More Proficient In Common Labor Such As Mechanics, Agriculture And Domestic Work -- Subsequently, "Cast Down Your Bucket Where You Are," Became The Theme For The Historic Oration.
At The Time Of His Speech, Booker T. Washington Was Considered The Most Influential Black Man In America. Blacks Comprised One Third Of The Southern Population, While Totaling Approximately 8 Million, In The United States. Whites Were Concerned About Black Americans' Increasing Desire For Civil Rights.
Washington Eased Their Fears By Pointing Out How "Loyal" And Devoted To Serving Whites," Black Americans Had Always Been. He Told White America That Its Success And Prosperity Was Directly Tied To The Way They Treated Black Americans. He Encouraged Whites To Employ Blacks Rather Than Giving Away Jobs To Immigrants -- "In All Things That Are Purely Social, We Can Be As Separate As The Fingers Yet One As The Hand."
If White Americans Responded Enthusiastically To Washington's Speech, Black Leaders Such As W.E.B. Du Bois, Educator John Hope And A.M.E. Bishop, Henry McNeal Turner, Were Equality As Critical Of It. Turner Said,
"The colored man who will stand up and in one breath say that the Negroid race does not want social equality and in the next predict a great future in the face of all participation of which the colored man is a victim, is either an ignoramus or is an advocate of the perpetual servility and degradation of his race."
Booker T. Washington Several Books, Including: Up From Slavery (1901) And The Life Of Frederick Douglass (1907). He Died November 14, 1917, In Tuskegee, AL.
"In Order For Black History To Live, We Must Continue To Breathe Life Into It." -- Hubert Gaddy, Jr.