Booker T. Washington

Booker T Washington

Booker T. Washington

"I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has had to overcome while trying to succeed.”

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Booker Taliaferro Washington (April 5, 1856 – November 14, 1915) was an African-American educator, author, orator, statesman, and advisor to Republican presidents.  He was the dominant leader in the African-American community in the United States from 1890 to 1915.  Representative of the last generation of black American leaders born in slavery, he spoke on behalf of the large majority of blacks who lived in the South but had lost their ability to vote through disenfranchisement by southern legislatures.  Historians note that Washington, "advised, networked, cut deals, made threats, pressured, punished enemies, rewarded friends, greased palms, manipulated the media, signed autographs, read minds with the skill of a master psychologist, strategized, raised money, always knew where the camera was pointing, traveled with an entourage, waved the flag with patriotic speeches, and claimed to have no interest in partisan politics".  In other words, he was an artful politician.

While his opponents called his powerful network of supporters the "Tuskegee Machine", Washington maintained control because of his ability to gain support of numerous groups including influential whites and black businesses and educational and religious communities nationwide.  He advised on financial donations from philanthropists, and avoided antagonizing white Southerners with his accommodation of the political realities of the age of Jim Crow segregation which made him the most famous black man in America between 1895 and 1915.  He was also considered the most influential black educator of the late 19th and early 20th centuries insofar as he controlled the flow of funds to black schools and colleges

Washington was born into slavery to Jane, an enslaved woman, and a white father.  His father was a nearby planter, in a rural area of the southwestern Virginia Piedmont.  After emancipation, his mother moved the family to rejoin her husband in West Virginia.  There, Washington worked in a variety of manual labor jobs before making his way to Hampton Roads seeking an education.  He worked his way through Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute (now Hampton University) and attended college at Wayland Seminary (now Virginia Union University).  In 1876, Washington returned to live in Malden, West Virginia, teaching Sunday school at African Zion Baptist Church.  He married his first wife, Fannie Smith, at the church in 1881.  After returning to Hampton as a teacher, in 1881 Washington was named as the first leader of the new Tuskegee Institute in Alabama.

Booker TWashington

Booker T. Washington 

Washington attained national prominence for his Atlanta Address of 1895, which attracted the attention of politicians and the public, making him a popular spokesperson for African-American citizens.  He built a nationwide network of supporters in many black communities, with black ministers, educators, and businessmen composing the core of his supporters.  Washington played a dominant role in black politics, winning wide spread support in the black community and among more liberal whites (especially rich Northern whites).  He gained access to top national leaders in politics, philanthropy and education.  Washington's efforts included cooperating with white people and enlisting the support of wealthy philanthropists.  He helped to raise funds that established and supported the operation of thousands of small community schools and institutions of higher education for the betterment of blacks throughout the South.  This work continued for many years after his death.  Washington argued that the surest way for blacks to gain equal social rights was to demonstrate "industry, thrift, intelligence and property".

Northern critics called Washington's followers the "Tuskegee Machine".  After 1909, Washington was criticized by the leaders of the new NAACP, especially W. E. B. Du Bois, who demanded a stronger tone of protest for advancement of civil rights needs.  Washington replied that confrontation would lead to disaster for the outnumbered blacks, and that cooperation with supportive whites was the only way to overcome pervasive racism in the long run.  At the same time, he secretly funded litigation for civil rights cases, such as challenges to southern constitutions and laws that disenfranchised blacks. Washington was on close terms with national republican leaders, and often was asked for political advice by presidents Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft.

In addition to his contributions in education, Washington wrote 14 books; his autobiography, “Up From Slavery”, first published in 1901, is still widely read today.  During a difficult period of transition, he did much to improve the working relationship between the races.  His work greatly helped blacks to achieve higher education, financial power and understanding of the U.S. legal system.  This contributed to blacks' attaining the skills to create and support the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, leading to the passage of important federal civil rights laws.

Booker T Washington

Booker T. Washington early in his career

Washington was born on the Burroughs Plantation in southwest Virginia.  His mother Jane never identified his white father, said to be a nearby planter who played no significant role in Washington's life.  His family gained freedom in 1865 as the Civil War ended, and his mother took them to West Virginia to join her husband.  Jane and the freedman Washington Ferguson were formally married in West Virginia, and Booker took the surname Washington at school after his stepfather.

As a boy of 9 in Virginia, he remembered the day in early 1865:  "As the great day drew nearer, there was more singing in the slave quarters than usual. It was bolder, had more ring, and lasted later into the night. Most of the verses of the plantation songs had some reference to freedom.... Some man who seemed to be a stranger (a United States officer, I presume) made a little speech and then read a rather long paper—the Emancipation Proclamation, I think.  After the reading we were told that we were all free and we could go when and where we pleased.  My mother, who was standing by my side, leaned over and kissed her children, while tears of joy ran down her cheeks.  She explained to us what it all meant, that this was the day for which she had been so long praying, but fearing that she would never live to see."

He worked in salt furnaces and coal mines in West Virginia for several years, then made his way east to Hampton Institute, a school established to educate freedmen, where he worked to pay for his studies.  He attended Wayland Seminary in Washington, D.C. in 1878 and left after 6 months.  In 1881, the Hampton president Samuel C. Armstrong recommended Washington to become the first leader of Tuskegee Institute, the new normal school (teachers' college) in Alabama.  Washington held the title until his death. 

Booker T Washington early in his career

A Young Booker T. Washington

Washington was instrumental in the 1891 founding of West Virginia State University located in the Kanawha Valley of West Virginia.  He visited the campus often and spoke at its first commencement exercise.  He was a dominant figure of the African-American community from 1890 to his death in 1915, especially after his Atlanta Address of 1895.  To many he was seen as a popular spokesman for African-American citizens. Representing the last generation of black leaders born into slavery, Washington was generally perceived as a supporter of education for freedmen in the post-Reconstruction, Jim Crow-era South. Throughout the final twenty years of his life, he maintained his standing through a nationwide network of supporters including black educators, ministers, editors, and businessmen, especially those who supported his views on social and educational issues for blacks.  He gained access to top national leaders in politics, philanthropy and education, raised large sums, was consulted on race issues and was awarded honorary degrees from leading American universities.

Late in his career, leaders of the NAACP, which was formed in 1909, criticized Washington.  W. E. B. Du Bois advocated activism to achieve civil rights.  He labeled Washington "the Great Accommodator".  Washington's response was that confrontation could lead to disaster for the outnumbered blacks.  He believed that cooperation with supportive whites was the only way to overcome racism in the long run.  Washington contributed secretly and substantially to legal challenges against segregation and disfranchisement of blacks.  In his public role, he believed he could achieve more by skillful accommodation to the social realities of the age of segregation.  Washington's work on issues of education helped him enlist both the moral and substantial financial support of many major white philanthropists.  He became friends with such self-made men as Standard Oil magnate Henry Huttleston Rogers; Sears, Roebuck and Company President Julius Rosenwald; and George Eastman, inventor and founder of Kodak.  These individuals and many other wealthy men and women funded his causes, including Hampton and Tuskegee institutes.

Sculpture of Booker T. Washington

Sculpture of Booker T. Washington at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington

The schools Washington supported were founded primarily for the purpose of producing black teachers.  However, graduates had often returned to their largely impoverished rural southern communities to find few schools and educational resources, as the state legislatures consistently underfunded black schools in their segregated system.  To address those needs, Washington enlisted his philanthropic network to create matching funds programs to stimulate construction of numerous rural public schools for black children in the South.  Working especially with Julius Rosenwald, Washington had Tuskegee architects develop model school designs.  The Rosenwald Fund helped support the construction and operation of more than 5,000 schools and supporting resources for the betterment of blacks throughout the South in the late-19th and early-20th centuries.  The local schools were a source of communal pride and were priceless to African-American families when poverty and segregation severely limited the life chances of the pupils.  A major part of Washington's legacy, the model rural schools continued to be constructed, with matching funds from the Rosenwald Fund, well into the 1930s.  Washington also helped with the Progressive Era by forming the National Negro Business League.  His autobiography, Up From Slavery, first published in 1901, is still widely read today.

Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute

Booker T. Washington s house

Booker T. Washington's house at Tuskegee University 

The organizers of the new all-black state school called Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute in Alabama found the energetic leader they sought in 25-year-old Washington.  He believed that with self-help, people ascend go from poverty and reach success. The new school opened on July 4, 1881, initially using space in a local church. The next year, Washington purchased a former plantation, which became the permanent site of the campus.  Under his direction, his students literally built their own school - constructing classrooms, barns and outbuildings, growing their own crops and raising livestock, both for learning and to provide for most of the basic necessities.  Both men and women had to learn trades as well as academics. Washington helped raise funds to establish and operate hundreds of small community schools and institutions of higher educations for blacks. The Tuskegee faculty used all the activities to teach the students basic skills to take back to their mostly rural black communities throughout the South. The main goal was not to produce farmers and tradesmen, but teachers of farming and trades who could later teach said skills in the new schools and colleges for blacks across the South.  The school expanded over the decades, adding programs and departments, to become the present-day Tuskegee University.

Washington expressed his aspirations for his race through his governance of the school.  He believed that by providing needed skills to society, African Americans would play their part, leading to acceptance by white Americans.  He believed that blacks would eventually gain full participation in society by acting as responsible, reliable American citizens.  Shortly after the Spanish-American War, President William McKinley and most of his cabinet visited Washington.  He led the school until his death in 1915. By then Tuskegee's endowment had grown to over $1.5 million, compared to its initial $2,000 annual appropriation.

Booker T. Washington with his third wife

Booker T. Washington with his third wife Margaret and two sons

Washington was married three times. In his autobiography “Up From Slavery”, he gave all three of his wives credit for their contributions at Tuskegee. 

Politics and the Atlanta Compromise

Washington's 1895 Atlanta Exhibition address was viewed as a "revolutionary moment" by both African-Americans and whites across the country.  At that point W. E. B. Du Bois had supported him, but they grew apart as Du Bois sought more immediate action to remedy disenfranchisement and lower education.  After their falling out, Du Bois and his supporters referred to Washington's speech as the "Atlanta Compromise" to express their criticism that Washington was too accommodating to white interests.

Washington advocated a "go slow" approach.  The effect was that many youths in the South had to accept sacrifices of potentially immediate political power, civil rights and higher education. His belief was that African-Americans should concentrate all their energies on industrial education, and accumulation of wealth, and the conciliation of the South.  Washington valued the "industrial" education, as it provided critical skills for the jobs then available to the majority of African-Americans at the time, as most lived in the South, which was overwhelmingly rural and agricultural.  He thought these skills that would lay the foundation for the creation of stability that the African-American community required in order to move forward.  He believed that in the long term "blacks would eventually gain full participation in society by showing themselves to be responsible, reliable American citizens." His approach advocated for an initial step toward equal rights, rather than full equality under the law.  In his mind, it would be this step that would provide the economic power to back up their demands for equality in the future. To him, this action, over time, would "provide the proof to a deeply prejudiced white America that African Americans were not in fact 'naturally' stupid and incompetent." 

This stance was contrary to what many blacks from the North envisioned. Du Bois wanted blacks to have the same "classical" liberal arts education as whites did, along with voting rights and civic equality.  He believed that an elite he called the Talented Tenth would advance to lead the race to a wider variety of occupations. The source of division between Du Bois and Washington was generated by the differences in how African Americans were treated in the North versus the South.  Many blacks in the North felt that they were being 'led', and authoritatively spoken for, by a 'Southern Accommodationist' imposed on them primarily by Southern whites.  Furthermore, historian Clarence E. Walker said, "Free black people were 'matter out of place.  Their emancipation was an affront to southern white freedom”.  Booker T. Washington did not understand that his program was perceived as subversive of a natural order in which black people were to remain forever subordinate or not free.  Despite their differences both men sought to define the best means to improve the conditions of the post-Civil War African-American community through education.

African Americans were solidly Republican in this period.  Southern states disfranchised most blacks and many poor whites from 1890–1908 through constitutional amendments and statutes that created barriers to voter registration, and to voting.  These laws took the forms such as poll taxes and literacy tests.  Southern white Democrats regained power in the state legislatures of the former Confederacy and passed laws establishing racial segregation and other Jim Crow laws while more blacks continued to vote in border and Northern states.

Booker T Washington and distinguished guests

Booker T Washington and "distinguished guests," 1906. (Front row) George T. McAneny, Robert C. Ogden, Booker T. Washington, an unidentified man, George W. Eliot, President of Harvard College, and (2nd row) J.G. Phelps Stokes, Dr. Lyman Abbott, and Hollis B. Frissell, President of Hampton Institute. (Courtesy U.S. Library of Congress)

Washington worked and socialized with many white politicians and industry leaders.  Much of his expertise existed in his ability to persuade wealthy whites to donate money to black causes. He argued that the surest way for blacks to gain equal social rights was to demonstrate "industry, thrift, intelligence and property."  This was the key to improved conditions for African Americans in the United States.  Because they had only recently been emancipated, he believed blacks could not expect too much at once.  Washington said, "I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has had to overcome while trying to succeed.”

Along with Du Bois, Washington helped to organized the "Negro exhibition" at the 1900 Exposition Universelle in Paris, where photos, taken by his friend Frances Benjamin Johnston, of Hampton Institute's black students were displayed.  The exhibition expressed African Americans' positive contributions to American society.  Washington also privately contributed substantial funds for legal challenges to segregation and disenfranchisement, including the case of Giles v. Harris, which went before the United States Supreme Court in 1903.

Washington wealthy friends included Andrew Carnegie

Washington's wealthy friends included Andrew Carnegie and Robert C. Ogden, seen here in 1906 while visiting Tuskegee Institute. 

Wealthy friends and benefactors

Washington associated with the richest and most powerful businessmen and politicians of the era.  He was seen as a spokesperson for African Americans and became a conduit for funding educational programs.  His contacts included the above mentioned diverse and well-known personages such as Andrew CarnegieWilliam Howard TaftJohn D. RockefellerHenry Huttleston RogersGeorge EastmanJulius Rosenwald, Robert C. OgdenCollis Potter Huntington and William Henry Baldwin Jr., who donated large sums of money to agencies such as the Jeanes and Slater Funds.  As a result, countless small schools were established through his efforts, in programs that continued many years after his death.  This was made possible with the donations of rich whites and the time and commitment of black communities. Religious institutions like the Baptist and Methodist church also played an instrumental role in the school building process.

Henry Rogers

An example of Washington's far-reaching influence was his friendship with millionaire industrialist and financier Henry H. Rogers (1840–1909).  Henry Rogers was a self-made man, who had risen from a modest working-class family to become a principal of Standard Oil, and had become one of the richest men in the United States.  Around 1894 Rogers heard Washington speak at Madison Square Garden. The next day he contacted Washington and requested a meeting, during which Washington later recounted that he was told that Rogers "was surprised that no one had 'passed the hat' after the speech."  The meeting marked the beginning of a close relationship that was to extend over a period of 15 years.  Although he and the very-private Rogers openly became visible to the public as friends, and Washington was a frequent guest at Rogers' New York office, his Fairhaven, Massachusetts summer home, and aboard his steam yacht Kanawha, the true depth and scope of their relationship was not publicly revealed until after Rogers' sudden death from a stroke in May 1909.

Handbill from Booker T Washington

Handbill from Booker T. Washington’s 1909 tour of southern Virginia and West Virginia

A few weeks later Washington went on a previously planned speaking tour along the newly completed Virginian Railway, a $40-million enterprise that had been built almost entirely from Rogers' personal fortune.  As Washington rode in the late financier's private railroad car, "Dixie", he stopped and made speeches at many locations, where his companions later recounted that both black and white citizens at each stop had warmly welcomed Washington.  Washington revealed that Rogers had been quietly funding operations of 65 small country schools for African Americans, and had given substantial sums of money to support Tuskegee and Hampton institutes.  He also disclosed that Rogers had encouraged programs with matching funds requirements so the recipients had a stake in the outcome.

Anna T. Jeanes

In 1907 Anna T. Jeanes (1822–1907) donated one million dollars to Washington for elementary schools for black children in the South.  Her contributions and those of Henry Rogers and others funded schools in many poor communities.

Julius Rosenwald

Julius Rosenwald (1862–1932) was another self-made wealthy man with whom Washington found common ground.  By 1908 Rosenwald, son of an immigrant clothier, had become part owner and president of Sears, Roebuck and Company in Chicago.  Rosenwald was a philanthropist who was deeply concerned about the poor state of African-American education, especially in the Southern states, where their schools were underfunded.  In 1912 Rosenwald was asked to serve on the Board of Directors of Tuskegee Institute, a position he held for the remainder of his life.  

Rosenwald endowed Tuskegee so that Washington could spend less time fundraising and focus more energy on managing the school.  Later in 1912 Rosenwald provided funds for a pilot program to build six new small schools in rural Alabama.  These schools opened in 1913 and 1914 and were designed, constructed, and overseen by Tuskegee.   The model proved successful and Rosenwald established the Rosenwald Fund for continued support.  The school building program was one of its largest programs.  Using architectural model plans developed by professors at Tuskegee Institute, the Rosenwald Fund spent over $4 million to help build 4,977 schools, 217 teachers' homes, and 163 shop buildings in 883 counties in 15 states, from Maryland to Texas. The Rosenwald Fund made matching grants, requiring community support and fundraising.  Black communities raised more than $4.7 million to aid the construction.  These schools became informally known as Rosenwald Schools. By 1932, the facilities could accommodate one third of all African-American children in Southern U.S. schools.

Booker Washington and Theodore Roosevelt

Booker Washington and Theodore Roosevelt at Tuskegee, 1905 

Up from Slavery and an invitation to the White House

Washington published five books during his lifetime with the aid of ghostwriters Max Bennett Thrasher and Robert E. Park.  They were compilations of speeches and essays:

  • The Story of My Life and Work(1900)
  • Up From Slavery (1901)
  • The Story of the Negro: The Rise of the Race from Slavery(2 vol 1909)
  • My Larger Education(1911)
  • The Man Farthest Down(1912)

In an effort to inspire the "commercial, agricultural, educational, and industrial advancement" of African Americans, Washington founded the National Negro Business League (NNBL) in 1900.  When Washington's autobiography, “Up From Slavery, was published in 1901, it became a bestseller and had a major impact on the African American community, its friends, and allies.  One of the results was a dinner invitation to the White House in 1901 by President Theodore Roosevelt.  Eventual Governor of Mississippi James K. Vardaman and Senator Benjamin Tillman of South Carolina indulged in racist personal attacks in response to the invitation. Vardaman described the White House as, "so saturated with the odor of the nigger that the rats have taken refuge in the stable", and declared,  "I am just as much opposed to Booker T. Washington as a voter as I am to the cocoanut-headed, chocolate-colored typical little coon who blacks my shoes every morning. Neither is fit to perform the supreme function of citizenship."  Tillman opined that, "The action of President Roosevelt in entertaining that nigger will necessitate our killing a thousand niggers in the South before they will learn their place again."

Booker T. Washington My Larger Education

Booker T. Washington, “My Larger Education”

Austro-Hungarian ambassador to the United States Ladislaus Hengelmüller von Hengervár, who was visiting the White House on the same day, claimed to have found a rabbit's foot in Washington's coat pocket when he mistakenly put on the coat. The Washington Post elaborately described it as "the left hind foot of a graveyard rabbit, killed in the dark of the moon". The Detroit Journal quipped the next day, "The Austrian ambassador may have made off with Booker T. Washington's coat at the White House, but he'd have a bad time trying to fill his shoes."

Booker T Washington coffin

Booker T. Washington's coffin being carried to gravesite 

Despite his travels and widespread work, Washington remained as principal of Tuskegee. His health was deteriorating rapidly and he collapsed in New York City and was brought home to Tuskegee, where he died on November 14, 1915, at the age of 59.  He was buried on the campus of Tuskegee University near the University Chapel.  His death was believed at the time to have been a result of congestive heart failure, aggravated by overwork.  In March 2006, with the permission of his descendants, examination of medical records indicated that he died of hypertension, with a blood pressure more than twice normal, confirming what had long been suspected.  At his death Tuskegee's endowment exceeded $1.5 million.  Washington's greatest life's work, the education of blacks in the South, was well underway and expanding.

Honors and memorials

For his contributions to American society, Washington was granted an honorary master's degree from Harvard University in 1896 and an honorary doctorate from Dartmouth College in 1901.

Washington, as the guest of President Theodore Roosevelt in 1901, was the first African American ever invited to the White House.  The visit was recalled in the 1927 song by Banjo Blues Musician Gus Cannon, titled "Can You Blame The Coloured Man". 

At the end of the 2008 presidential election, the defeated Republican candidate, Senator John McCain, referred to Washington's visit a century before as the seed that blossomed into Barack Obama, the first African American to be elected President of the United States.

In 1934 Robert Russa Moton, Washington's successor as president of Tuskegee University, arranged an air tour for two African-American aviators.  Afterward he had the plane named the Booker T. Washington.

Booker T Washington was honored on a Series Commemorative U.S. Postage stamp

Booker T. Washington was honored on a Series ‘Commemorative U.S. Postage stamp, issue of 1940. 

On April 7, 1940, Washington became the first African American to be depicted on a United States postage stamp.  Several years later, he was honored on the first coin to feature an African American, the Booker T. Washington Memorial Half Dollar, which was minted by the United States from 1946 to 1951.  He was also depicted on a U.S. Half Dollar from 1951–1954.

In 1942, the Liberty Ship Booker T. Washington was named in his honor.  It was the first major oceangoing vessel to be named after an African American. The ship was christened by Marian Anderson.

Marian Anderson christens the liberty ship Booker T Washington

Marian Anderson christens the liberty ship Booker T. Washington 

On April 5, 1956, the hundredth anniversary of Washington's birth, the house where he was born in Franklin County, Virginia, was designated as the Booker T. Washington National Monument. Additionally, a state park in Chattanooga, Tennessee was named in his honor, as was a bridge spanning the Hampton River adjacent to his alma mater, Hampton University.

In 1984 Hampton University dedicated a Booker T. Washington Memorial on campus near the historic Emancipation Oak, illustrating, in the words of the University, "a relationship between one of America's great educators and social activists, and the symbol of black achievement in education."

Numerous high schools, middle schools and elementary schools across the United States have been named after Booker T. Washington.  At the center of the campus at Tuskegee University, the Booker T. Washington Monument, called "Lifting the Veil," was dedicated in 1922. The inscription at its base reads: "He lifted the veil of ignorance from his people and pointed the way to progress through education and industry."

On October 19, 2009, West Virginia State University dedicated a monument to the memory of noted African American educator and statesman Booker T. Washington. The event took place at West Virginia State University's Booker T. Washington Park in Malden, West Virginia. The monument also honors the families of African ancestry who lived in Old Malden in the early 20th Century and who knew and encouraged Booker T. Washington. Special guest speakers at the event included West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin III, Malden attorney Larry L. Rowe, and the president of WVSU.  Musical selections were provided by the WVSU "Marching Swarm".

See also

Books

Notes

 

Postcripts on black history brought to you by Paris-based Texas artist Ealy Mays

  

REFERENCES / SOURCES / LINKS


Secondary sources

  • Anderson, James D.The Education of Blacks in the South, 1860–1935(1988)online
  • Bauerlein, Mark. "Booker T. Washington and W. E. B. Du Bois: The origins of a bitter intellectual battle,"The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education(46) (Winter,2004) inJSTOR
  • Boston, Michael B.The Business Strategy of Booker T. Washington: Its Development and Implementation(University Press of Florida; 2010); 243 pages. A revisionist study that emphasizes the content and influence of his philosophy as an entrepreneur.
  • Brundage, W. Fitzhugh, edBooker T. Washington and Black Progress: Up from Slavery 100 Years Later(2003).
  • Friedman, Lawrence J. "Life 'In the Lion's Mouth': Another Look at Booker T. Washington,"Journal of Negro HistoryVol. 59, No. 4 (Oct., 1974), pp. 337–351in JSTOR
  • Harlan, Louis R.Booker T. Washington: The Making of a Black Leader, 1856–1901(1972) the standard biography, Volume 1;Booker T. Washington: The Wizard of Tuskegee 1901–1915(1983), the standard scholarly biography, Volume 2.Volume 2 online
  • Harlan, Louis R.Booker T. Washington in Perspective: Essays of Louis R. Harlan(1988).
  • Harlan, Louis R. "The Secret Life of Booker T. Washington."Journal of Southern History37:2 (1971). inJSTORDocuments Booker T. Washington's secret financing and directing of litigation against segregation and disfranchisement.
  • Harlan, Louis R. "Booker T. Washington in Biographical Perspective,"American Historical ReviewVol. 75, No. 6 (Oct., 1970), pp. 1581–1599in JSTOR
  • McMurry, Linda O.George Washington Carver, Scientist and Symbol(1982)
  • Meier, August. "Toward a Reinterpretation of Booker T. Washington."The Journal of Southern History,23#2 (May, 1957), pp. 220–227.In JSTOR. Documents Booker T. Washington's secret financing and directing of litigation against segregation and disfranchisement.
  • Norrell, Robert J.Up from History: The Life of Booker T. Washington(2009). Belknap Press/Harvard University Press.ISBN 0-674-03211-X;ISBN 978-0-674-03211-8, favorable scholarly biography
  • Smith, David L. "Commanding Performance: Booker T. Washington's Atlanta Compromise Address".InMyth America: A Historical Anthology, Volume II. 1997. Gerster, Patrick, and Cords, Nicholas. (editors.) Brandywine Press, St. James, NY.ISBN 1-881089-97-5
  • Smock, Raymond.Booker T. Washington: Black Leadership in the Age of Jim Crow.Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 2009,
  • Cary D. Wintz,African American Political Thought, 1890–1930: Washington, Du Bois, Garvey, and Randolph(1996).
  • Pole, J. R. "Review: Of Mr. Booker T. Washington and Others; The Children of Pride,"The Historical Journal17, (4) (Dec, 1974) inJSTOR
  • Strickland, Arvarh E. "Review: Booker T. Washington: The Myth and the Man,"Reviews in American Historyvol. 1, No. 4 (Dec., 1973), pp. 559–564in JSTOR
  • Andrew Zimmerman,Alabama in Africa: Booker T. Washington, the German Empire, and the Globalization of the New South (Princeton, Princeton University Press, 2012).

Primary sources

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