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

By Louis R. Harlan | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 11
Provincial Man of the World

There are not a few Negroes who sometimes become discouraged and feel that their condition and prospects are worse than those of any other group of human beings. I wanted to see groups of people who are much worse off than the Negro, and, through detailing their condition, place such facts before the Negro in America as would make him feel and see that, instead of being the worst off, his condition and prospects are much better than those of millions of people who are in the same relative stage of civilization.*

BTW, 1912

BOOKER T. Washington's outlook throughout his life remained that of a provincial southern American, though he traveled widely and had a worldwide following. As his writings were translated into many foreign languages, he became the most famous black man in the world, and his fame drew foreigners to him like a magnet. All manner of men, American missionaries, European colonialists, African nationalists, Buddhist reformers, and Japanese modernizers sought to enlist his aid. On the one hand were whites who sought his aid in introducing plantation agriculture into colonial areas. On the other hand Africans and Asians hoped to find in Tuskegee industrial education and Washington's philosophy of self-help a source of strength to resist the political and cultural imperialism of the Europeans.

____________________
*
From The Man Farthest Down.

-266-

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