Atlanta Exposition Address Analysis

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The Atlanta Exposition Address by Booker T. Washington (1856-1915), written as a strategy in order to combat racial tensions in the South. Washington was born into slavery, where he worked on a Virginia plantation until emancipation in 1865. He then moved to Virginia with his mother, and taught himself how to read and write. After many years of saving he enrolled in the Hampton Institute (later called Hampton University) in 1875 and Wayland Seminary from 1878-1879. He would later become a teacher at Hampton, and after recommendation from Hampton’s president, he was selected to lead Tuskegee University. He served as principal and founder at the newly built normal school that trained blacks to become teachers and agricultural industrial workers.…show more content…
He believed that blacks should focus on economic elevation by concentrating their efforts on farming and industry. He thought it would lead to black socio-economic progress, opposed to the outright demand of social equality. Atlanta Exposition Address argues three major points: 1) blacks should focus on industrial education (to accumulate wealth) instead of higher education, 2) give up the insistence of civil rights, and that 3) whites should give black southerners a chance to prove…show more content…
Washington stated “Cast down your bucket among these people who have, without strikes and labour wars, tilled your fields... builded your railroads and cities….and helped make possible this….progress of the South” (Washington, Atlanta Exposition Address). He repeats the phrase “cast down your bucket” to emphasise his message to blacks, to remain where they are. Specifically, he is telling whites to NOT seek immigrant workers, but instead reach out to millions of blacks who are unemployed in the South. Washington is asking whites to give blacks the chance to prove their worth, and influence economically. He also highlighted the fact that southern blacks were loyal workers, AND that they built the South without going on strikes and labor wars, which were common in northern industrial society. All things considered, this argument was convincing. In reality, one-third of the South’s population was black, and held an economic weight in society especially because of the emancipation of slaves. If whites ostracized blacks from working in the South, even as meager farmers and industrialist, the southern economy would falter as a
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