Booker T Washington Speech Analysis

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Of the many truly inspirational speeches given by African Americans, Booker T. Washington’s The Atlanta Exposition Address is one of the few that intends to achieve compromise. In his speech, Washington is trying to persuade an audience composed significantly of white men to support African Americans by granting them jobs and presenting them with opportunities. His goal is to convince his white audience that African Americans will be supplied with jobs lower than those of white men, allowing white men always to be on top. Booker T. Washington’s The Atlanta Exposition Address adopts a tone of acquiescence and compromise to persuade a predominantly white audience to accept his terms. Throughout history, African Americans have been giving speeches …show more content…

Cast it down among the eight millions of Negroes… Casting down your bucket among my people, helping and encouraging them as you are” because “As we [African Americans] have proved our loyalty to you in the past” and “In all things that are purely social we can be as separate as the fingers” (2). Washington asks for assistance from the white people but also adds that African Americans can be socially distinct from them as long as they both support each other. Upon the matter of social equality, Washington is first to remark “The wisest among my race understand that the agitation of all questions of social equality is the extremest folly” because progress is only possible through “severe and constant struggle rather than of artificial forcing” (2). He says that African Americans need not be socially equal as it will prevent them from progressing; his definition of progress is only possible through hard work. Due to the numerous opportunities Washington is renouncing, the white majority is accepting of his speech because they are viewed as above the African Americans. African Americans achieve some support through Washington’s speech and the white people are still above the African Americans, so both sides come to terms. Hence, The Atlanta Exposition Address aims at …show more content…

If the audience were composed greatly of African Americans, there would exist no need to comment on how magnificent the Exposition was. Washington throughout his speech addresses the white majority especially when he tells them that “Nearly sixteen millions of hands will aid you in pulling the load upward,” addressing the white people telling them that African Americans are there to help them (2). He is speaking on behalf of African Americans, addressing the “Gentlemen of the Exposition,” so that both sides can come to an agreement (3). Throughout his speech, Washington approaches the white majority in an effort to reach a consensus on behalf of the African Americans, giving his speech a tone of

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how booker t. washington's the atlanta exposition address aims to persuade a predominantly white audience to accept his terms.
  • Analyzes how washington's atlanta exposition address aims to conciliate the white majority by losing various opportunities to achieve an agreement.
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