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Booker T. Washington Writes Brief Notes for Speeches
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Proud of Race / Serious Problem, / all can help / In & out of slavery

These pages of notes, written by African American leader and educator Booker T. Washington, are not fully developed texts but are likely either speaking points for speeches or points to stress in reports. A few can be tied to specific speeches Washington gave in the mid-1890s, but many refer to anecdotes or themes that he used in multiple speeches over a lifetime of addressing black and white audiences.

Washington’s approach to the path for African Americans to rise out of the miseries of slavery was more gradual than that of other African American leaders and aimed for accommodation to white hostility, fearing that the more confrontational methods espoused by others would lead to disaster for his race. The educational institutions and business organizations he nurtured created a more confident and capable generation of leaders who led African Americans to demand equal political and civil rights in the mid-twentieth century.

BOOKER T. WASHINGTON. Autograph Manuscript Documents, Notes for Speeches or Reports, ca. 1890-1915. Several pages are written on blank or verso of “Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute” letterhead and one is on the verso of “Grand Union Hotel” stationery from New York City. 17 pp., 5¾ x 8½ in. to 8½ x 11 in.

Inventory #27518       Price: $11,000

Mind and matter in Industrial Education

Tendency toward matter. / Kindergarten &c. / Ind. Ed—mind applied to matter—Conquering forces of nature / more mind more matter

Educational Power of Ind. Ed. / Not for less but for its use. / What to do with that thing, Not what is Known

Liberia—No common schools, No roads, Pointless boy / Liberian student, / Studying oratory

Washington delivered a speech entitled “Mind and Matter” before the Alabama State Teachers’ Association in Selma on June 5, 1895.

It is said that the strongest chain is no stronger than its weakest link.

In the Southern part of our Country are 20,000,000 of your brethern who are bound to you and to whom you are bound with a indisoluble cord from you can not separate yourselves if you would. /  (Aim should be to reach lowest) / Negro can be anything.

two ways of exerting ones strength / Friendship of south

quote from recent report, / Justice, / Teach children to be helpful & kind.

stick to Tuskegee plan. / Influence of Negro leaders

During a speech to the National Education Association in St. Louis on June 30, 1904, Washington, said, “There are two ways of exerting one’s strength; one in pushing down, the other in pulling up. It is a sign of the highest civilization when individuals reach that point where their strength is used in pulling every human soul up to the very highest point of its usefulness and service.”[1] The first sentence became an oft-repeated inspirational quotation.

Trustee meeting / Land sale

Lease land. / New trustees

All under law. / 1 weak religious restraint / 2 Exciting passions, / 3 ministering to wicked appetites

Reputation—its value, / Publishing bad actions, / Be charitable in judging, / Ridicule / when to speak out, / to protect Soc. / to protect the innocent, / To protect the offender / Shun company of wicked.

It is a great satisfaction to belong to a race just now when white Americans are likely to find themselves intermingled with the Mongolian and the malay from the far East and the Latin races from the South, & say that under such circumstances it is a supreme satisfaction to belong to a race that has such a potent drawing power as is true of my race.

This quotation comes from an address Washington delivered to the Christian Endeavor Society on July 7, 1898, in Nashville, Tennessee. His speech was entitled, “The Mutual Dependence of the Races.” The Christian Endeavor Society was founded in 1881 as an interdenominational Christian youth society and spread throughout the United States.

How not to work

Dignifying labor / girl / white worker

In his 1903 speech, “Industrial Education for the Negro,” Washington said, “Many seem to think that industrial education is meant to make the Negro work as he worked in the days of slavery. This is far from my conception of industrial education. If this training is worth anything to the Negro, it consists in teaching him how not to work, but how to make the forces of nature – air, steam, water, horse-power and electricity – work for him. If it has any value it is in lifting labor up out of toil and drudgery into the plane of the dignified and the beautiful.”[2]

Races, / Is all one, / No trouble between educated, / Do not hear of Progress, / Ignorance & Hatred / No law

Needs, / Proud of Race / Serious Problem, / all can help / In & out of slavery, / Red flag.

Washington published a brief essay entitled “Why I am Proud of My Race,” in the Sunday Magazine of the Sunday Star (Washington, DC), June 25, 1905, p4, and the Sunday Magazine of the New York Tribune, June 25, 1905, p4, which concluded, “I am proud of my race, finally, because I see it day by day learning to make itself more useful in those communities of which it has become a part, and because I believe in the end it will be found that it has something valuable of its own to contribute to the civilization of the world.”

Material Progress, / Va & Ga, / Business League, / Negro Conference, / New Homes, / Montgmry Fair, / Columbia Heights, / “Camp Meeting” / Negro Banks, / Negro drugstores,

Lincoln university, / what Education should Do / Introduction / Debt to Lincoln,

Place to locate. / South new country / Create opportunities / In touch with life about him. / Food, shelter, Roads, Commerce, School Houses, Liberia, Creating centers,

self government, / Long view vs. short view

Educational / must harness to something

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, two historically black educational institutions were named Lincoln University, one near Oxford, Pennsylvania, and the other one in St. Louis, Missouri. In June 1890, Lincoln University in Pennsylvania conferred an honorary master’s degree on Booker T. Washington, six years before he received an honorary master’s degree from Harvard University.

Moral & Religious / Criticisms for Culture / Foundation for religion and morals.

South Hungry / Condition in Black Belt, / Hungry Christian / Emotional Nature / In next world – give up world / Increasing wants / Can create wagon / Superficial Culture (Wedding)

In an address to students of Tuskegee Institute entitled “Substance vs. Shadow,” Washington said, “You who study history know how the Pilgrim Fathers, who landed at Plymouth Rock in the bleak winter of 1620, were willing to wear homespun clothes, and to be married in them, if necessary, and to have a wedding that in all would not cost more than four dollars, I suppose. On the other hand, when one of our boys wants to get married now, he must have a wedding that costs not less than one hundred and fifty dollars. His wife must have a dress with a long train, and he must have a Prince Albert, broadcloth coat that he either rents, or buys on the instalment plan. They think that they must have a bevy of waiting bridesmaids, and there must be a line of hacks standing on the outside of the church door that will cost him not less than twenty-five dollars. Then, after the ceremony, where do these people go to live? The chances are the young man who has been to all this expense for the sake of the show of it, takes his bride to live in a small cabin with only two rooms—sometimes only one room—rented at that.

“This is what I mean by getting the superficial culture before the dollars are made; grasping at the shadow instead of the substance. Now what we want to do here is to send out a set of young men and young women who will go into the communities where such mistakes as these are made, and show the people by example and by work how much better it is to get married for four dollars, and to pay as you go, than to get married for a hundred and fifty dollars, and then pay four dollars a month to live in a rented cabin. When I go to New York, or to any large city, there is nothing more discouraging than to see people of this very class I am speaking of, people who seek the superficial culture, the shadow, rather than the substantial dollars and education.”[3]

Prejudice / Something others way (3 cts) / Picture Tuskegee / Tangible side / Could see bricks / Democratic Paper / Foundation for Political rights, / mistakes, / ‘Cast down bucket’ / Business chance / Building and Riding in cars. / $10,000 in freight

In his famous Atlanta Exposition Address of 1895, Washington urged both African Americans and white southerners to “cast down your bucket where you are” and insisted that “no race can prosper till it learns that there is as much dignity in tilling a field as in writing a poem.”

Booker T. Washington (1856-1915) was born into slavery in Virginia. After emancipation, he moved with his mother moved to West Virginia to join her husband. Washington attended Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute (now Hampton University) and Wayland Seminary (now Virginia Union University). In 1881, he became the first leader of the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, a normal college founded for the education of African American teachers. Students constructed the buildings of the college and grew their own food on a large farm. In 1895, Washington’s influential Atlanta Exposition Address, which promoted vocational and industrial education for African Americans, attracted national attention for him and the Tuskegee Institute. Later referred to as the Atlanta Compromise, Washington’s speech was at first supported and later opposed by W. E. B. DuBois and other African American leaders. Washington developed a nationwide network of supporters for the school in black communities throughout the nation. In 1912, he developed a relationship with philanthropist Julius Rosenwald, and Rosenwald’s foundation ultimately provided funding for building nearly 5,000 small schools across the South for African American students. After 1909, leaders of the new National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and especially DuBois, criticized Washington for failing to push a civil rights agenda. Washington advocated a more gradual approach to improving race relations with the cooperation of supportive whites. Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft frequently asked Washington for political advice. Washington wrote fourteen books, including his autobiography Up from Slavery (1901). He also helped found the National Negro Business League to encourage entrepreneurship among African American businessmen.

Condition: Some edge tears and small areas of loss; general toning.

[1] The Montgomery Times (AL), July 5, 1904, 3:3.

[2] Booker T. Washington, “Industrial Education for the Negro,” in Booker T. Washington, ed., The Negro Problem: A Series of Articles by Representative American Negroes of To-day (New York: James Pott & Company, 1903), 25.

[3] Booker T. Washington, Character Building: Being Addresses Delivered on Sunday Evenings to the Students of Tuskegee Institute (New York: Doubleday, Page & Company, 1902), 240-242.

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