Why is Booker T. Washington important?

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Booker T. Washington's chief importance lies in his championing of education as a means to self-improvement for African Americans. Washington firmly believed that African Americans would be able to take their place in society if they were given access to the same educational opportunities as everyone else.

This was perfectly in keeping with his overall philosophy of integration. But it also put him at odds with more radical black leaders such as W.E.B. DuBois. Washington's belief that education would make African Americans accepted by white society was no less controversial in his day than in ours. His more militant opponents accused him of naivety, arguing that Washington's narrow focus on the transformative power of education...

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