Booker T. Washington became the most powerful at influential black leader during his time; Tuskegee Institute founded by Washington was the first institution of higher learning for African Americans. Washington came under pressure from critics who’ve viewed him as an accommodationist because they felt he de-emphasized racism, racial violence against blacks and discrimination. Washington advocated a “go slow” approach to avoid a harsh white backlash. The effect was that many youth in the South had to accept sacrifices for potential political power, civil rights and higher education. His believe was that the African Americans should “concentrate all their energies of industrial education, accumulation of wealth and the conciliation of the south”.
Booker T. Washington worked as a janitor and he learned that the happiest people are the ones who do the most for others. As a janitor you help places that are sanitary, he was very proud of serving for others even though he knew that it wasn’t the best job in the world. But he was glad to be serving his community. Miss Mackie sent him a letter to return back as a janitor, and also taught him the dignity of labor and to learn how to live an unselfish life. Washington learned the value of hard work and that the smaller jobs helped create the bigger things in society. He was a very humble person because he knew he wouldn’t interact with all different types of people at work (good or bad) but he wasn’t ashamed of what he did for a living. Especially knowing that the good things in life come with hard work.
During the reconstruction period, color people started learning Greek and Latin holding office felt like they had more power. By learning more languages they were able to communicate with different cultures and ethnicities. This could be specialized to help translate for others who would not understand. The people wanted to put Southerners (African Americans) in higher positions then white man so they can suffer in debt. They wanted to get educated because they did not want the government putting them in a law status; they wanted to succeed in society as well. Washington felt that people of Hampton we’re too dependent on the government. They wanted to educate blacks so they would be independent and help out in society.
In the opening day for the Tuskegee, Washington felt that educated blacks would leave the farms. Having more educated blacks meant that there would be less people working in the farm and they are going to want to apply for higher decisions or better paying jobs. Basically they’re going to take away jobs from the white or rich in whom there are less people doing the jobs no one wants to do. The African-Americans were not receiving the same education as the others. They wanted to get better education to succeed but the government tries to stop them from succeeding once they see a particular race is advancing.
In chapter 11, it states how Armstrong fought in the Civil War for the people and he wanted both the southern whites and blacks to prosper because color did not matter to him. Washington was able to respect this man and he knew that not all men had hatred in them. He also learned that, “…assistance given to the weak makes the one who gives it strong, and that oppression of the unfortunate makes one weak.” By this he is saying that helping others gives you a sense of power not only to you, but it embraces the type of person others might see you as. It’s never good for someone to be hateful or selfish and people do appreciate it when we give them a helping hand if they are in need.
One argument from the teacher as stated from the book says, “notwithstanding these experiences, there was almost no complaining on the part of the students. They knew that we were doing the best that we could for them. They were happy in the privilege of being permitted to enjoy any kind of opportunity that would enable them to improve their condition”(81). The students we’re able to understand in the limited amount of supplies that they had and took in granted for what they had. There was no point for them to argue about not having enough supplies because there will be no change. Not everyone was able to probably get warmed up when it was cold but somewhat the students shared amongst each other. They cared about each other so they shared whatever they had with them. If someone needed help they would get help from another person to get things done. For example, when they went to the chapel they had to make sure that the buttons we’re on their clothes and must have no grease spots or torn as said in page 85. They wanted to show perfection so that people know they were clean and perfect on the way they dressed.
Washington repudiated the abolitionist emphasis on unceasing agitation for full equality, advising blacks that it was counterproductive to fight segregation at that point. Civil rights leader and NAACP founder W.E.B. Du Bois criticized him. Du Bois and his supporters opposed the Atlanta address has to “Atlanta Compromise”, because it provided that African Americans should work for and submit to white political rule. Du Bois insisted of full civil rights, due process of law and increased political representation for African-Americans.
In conclusion Washington just wanted to tell everyone that it was possible to achieve no matter what the difficulties were. Believing that the African Americans can “concentrate all their energies of industrial education, accumulation of wealth and the conciliation of the south”. To push themselves forward and achieve in life and be like the whites because they were not the only ones who achieved as well. For some they could have made a move to achieve what somewhere afraid which could have lead to getting in a bad position.