Booker T Washington's Influence

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After the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, African Americans were still being treated unjustly and needed direction. While many of them were enslaved and all of them were segregated, they yearned for a way to achieve equality. Booker T. Washington is the most influential African American leader during the civil rights era. Born in 1856 to a white man and a slave cook, he had equality flowing through his veins, but his leadership and status took time to develop. Upon slavery’s end, his family moved to West Virginia where he became a salt packer and coal miner. At ages 9-12, he learned to value hard work and overcome difficult situations, despite having low wages. Then, at 16, he entered Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute in Virginia.…show more content…
In 1895, he was invited to speak at the International Exposition in Atlanta. He spoke of “The New Negro,” one with “the knowledge of how to live … how to cultivate the soil, to husband their resources, and make the most of their opportunities” (CITATION). The multicultural audience received this message with much applause, making him in high demand as a speaker throughout the country. Additionally, he became an adviser to both Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft, and was the first black dinner guest at the White House. Due to his furthering influence, he was accepted by most people and broke color…show more content…
He was criticized for urging African Americans to avoid political action and militant organizing. W.E.B. Du Bois, thought this strategy would continue white oppression, so he advocated political action and protest. Also, he taught it was the responsibility of “The Talented Tenth” to steer the majority away from contamination; whereas, Booker T. Washington thought more individualistic in his idea that we all must take it upon ourselves to become educated. Washington’s teachings were accepted by whites because they agreed African Americans should gain respect through education. Although not everyone agreed with him, his indisputable influence kickstarted the civil rights
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