Booker T. Washington

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I’m Booker T Washington In 1881, I founded and became principal of Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute. I started this school in an old abandoned church and a shanty. The school's name was later changed to Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University). The school taught specific trades, such as carpentry, farming, and mechanics, and trained teachers. As it expanded, I spent much of his time raising funds. Under Washington's leadership, the institute became famous as a model of industrial education. The Tuskegee Institute National Historic Site, established in 1974, includes Washington's home, student-made college buildings, and the George Washington Carver Museum. I believe that blacks could benefit more from a practical, vocational education rather than a college education. Most blacks lived in poverty in the rural South, and I felt they should learn skills, work hard, and acquire property. I believed that the development of work skills would lead to economic prosperity. I predicted that blacks would be granted civil and political rights after gaining a strong economic foundation. I explained his theories in Up from Slavery and in other publications. In the late 1800's, more and more blacks became victims of lynchings and Jim Crow laws that segregated blacks. To reduce racial conflicts, I advised blacks to stop demanding equal rights and to simply get along with whites. I urged whites to give black better jobs. In a speech given in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1895, I declared: "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." This speech was often called the Atlanta Compromise because I accepted inequality and segregation for blacks in exchange for economic advancement. The speech was widely quoted in newspapers and helped make me a prominent national figure and black spokesman. I became a shrewd political leader and advised not only Presidents, but also members of Congress and governors, on political appointments for blacks and sympathetic whites. I urged wealthy people to contribute to various black organizations. I also owned or financially supported many black newspapers. In 1900, I had founded the National Negro Business League to help black business firms. Throughout my life, I tried to please whites in both the North and the South through his public actions and his speeches. I never publicly supported black political causes that were unpopular with Southern whites.

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