Booker T. Washington: The Wizard of Tuskegee 1901-1915

By Louis R. Harlan | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER 1
Partners of Convenience:
Washington and Roosevelt

But alas for good intentions,
And such democratic ways!
For there came a cry from Dixie
And a fire was set ablaze.
"You insult us, you outrage us!
You commit an awful sin!
When you welcome to your table
That--er--man with a dark skin."*

THE White House Social Calendar, a regular column in the newspapers of the national capital, reported in small print that on October 16, 1901, Booker T. Washington had been President Theodore Roosevelt's guest at dinner. Overnight, the dinner became a sensation. The southern newspapers, ever since Washington's famous Atlanta Compromise address in 1895, had held him up as an example of "the good Negro," the very model of discretion, the man who had promised that black and white people could remain "as separate as the fingers, yet one as the hand in all things essential to mutual progress." Now they felt betrayed, and vied with each other in frothing denunciation of both Washington and Roosevelt. The level of white

____________________
*
Mobile Weekly Press, Dec 1901, clipping.

-3-

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