Booker T. Washington Questions and Answers

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Was Booker T. Washington's philosophy of "accommodation and self-help" accepted and followed by educated as well as non-educated African-Americans during that time?

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Washington's "accommodation and self-help" philosophy developed from a speech he delivered at the 1895 Atlanta Cotton States and International Exposition that became known as the "Atlanta Compromise." For the next twenty years, Washington was the representative for African-Americans in this country. His influence extended all the way to the White House; he had input in political appointments and legal actions throughout the presidencies of Roosevelt and Taft.

Washington's philosophy was accepted by African-Americans both educated and non-educated. However, the education he advocated was more vocational in nature. He believed in being "accommodating" toward discrimination and segregation while establishing economic stability. His opposition, namely W.E.B. DuBois, was often comprised of college-educated men. DuBois was a Harvard graduate who advocated social protest and advancement through traditional educational routes. Those African-Americans who were contemporaries of both these great men tended to gravitate toward the one whose educational background reflected their own: The ones who were vocationally educated tended to gravitate toward Washington.  

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