T. Washington was a black social activist and educator who influenced most the African
American community in the late nineteenth century. He became famous because he
gave a speech in front of a white audience. He delivered his famous speech “Atlanta
Comprise” in Atlanta, Georgia on September 18, 1895, in which he focused on
promoting social and economic equality between black and white people.1 He was totally convinced
that African American people could gain the respect and acceptation of the
white society through work. Without Washington promoting these equalities
African Americans and white race could never have created a new beginning
believed that African Americans and white people could harmonious work together
in favor of progress. He said, “Cast down your buckets where you are” referring
to that both races should treat each other equally and make good relationship together.2 He felt that African
Americans should stay where they were and show the white race that they have
the skills to work and find progress together. Washington wanted that white
people hire African American and not foreign people. In addition, working hard would
give black people the chance to earn loyalty from the white race and the
opportunity to make their race more useful and do more than common laborers.
had confidence in black people because they were patient, hardworking, and generous.
He said, “No race can prosper till it learns that there is much dignity in
tilling a field as in writing a poem.” Empathizing that African American had to
obtain a good financial status before acquiring education.3 Although, African Americans
helped for several years to build and clean the railroads and the cities, and
even brought treasures to the cities without strikers or labor wars.4 Washington believed that
African Americans after this agreement between the races, black people would win
the chance to get vocational training and acquire education and become part of
told black people to accept their status and helped white people develop their
businesses. However, for African Americans would be difficult to earn respect or
even change their status in society because white people did not trust them. Moreover,
Washington believed that economic independence for black was more important at
that moment than their freedom. He felt it was better African American
contribute with theirs hands and do not force anything to obtain freedom or
equality. “In all things that are purely social we can be as separate as the
fingers, yet one as the hand in all things essential to mutual progress,” said
Washington, accepting segregation and both races would be separate, but at the
same time equally.5
was convinced African Americans would win their equality and the right to
acquire education with hard working, showing white people who their skills and
they were willing do more than common laborers to be part of the beginning.
Harlan, Louis R. ed., The Booker T. Washington Paper, Vol. 3, (Urban: University of
Illinois Press, 1974), 583-587.
R. Harlan, ed., The Booker T. Washington
Paper, Vol. 3, (Urban: University of Illinois Press, 1974), 583.
The Booker T. Washington Paper. 584.