Washington, Booker T. (1856 - 1915).
L i f e
- son of a black slave and an unknown white slave-owning father
- given his owner's surname (Taliaferro) as a middle name, adopted his stepfather’s 1st name as a surname
- sought to educate himself and proved a tough will
<=> B. Franklin’s concept of self-discipline and self-reliance as the way to the ‘American dream’ for any poor boy
- awarded an honorary master's degree from Harvard University and a honorary doctorate from Dartmouth College
- the 1st Afro-American to be invited to the White House as the guest of President Theodore Roosevelt
W o r k
- a major moderate social activist
- promoted a technical and vocational training for Afro-Americans to enable them earn a decent living, believed the political rights would come only later
- but: later criticised by W.E.B. DuBois who demanded classical rather than practical education for Afro-Americans
- defended the non-assimilation of Afro-Americans
- his lifetime: called the ‘Moses of his race’ x 1960s: dismissed as an ‘Uncle Tom’ by the Afro-American militants during the civil right struggles
Up From Slavery (1901):
= his autobiography
- his rise from a slave child during the Civil War to a prominent public person
“The Atlanta Compromise” (1895):
= his speech presenting his moderate policy
- named "Compromise" by W.E.B. DuBois who thought Washington's policies too mild
"I would permit no man, no matter what his colour might be, to narrow and degrade my soul by making me hate him".
From Up From Slavery (1901).
(Photo: Cheynes Studio. 1903. Source: Wikipedia).
AuthorBooker T(aliaferro) Washington. (1856 - 1915). African-American.
WorkPolitical and social activist. Non-military promoter of Afro-American civil rights.
GenresMemoir. Political writing.
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