Civil rights scholar Adam Fairclough hails Booker T. Washington as a successful and farsighted leader who, whatever his limitations, remained committed to racial equality and ultimately engendered conditions that promoted black progress. Washington’s Tuskegee Institute, for example, was an impressive symbol of black gains—and not a repressive machine that kept blacks mired in second-class citizenry. Too, Washington’s attempts to dismantle racism by making blacks indispensable to the southern economy—a strategy bitterly criticized by many of his contemporaries— was indeed...
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