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Title: Booker T. Washington - Builder of a Civilization
Author: Stowe, Lyman Beecher, 1880-1963, Scott, Emmett J. (Emmett Jay), 1873-1957
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Builder of a Civilization



With a Preface by Theodore Roosevelt

[Illustration: logo]

Illustrated from Photographs

Garden City      New York
Doubleday, Page & Company

Copyright, 1916, by
Doubleday, Page & Company
All rights reserved, including that of
translation into foreign languages,
including the Scandinavian

Copyright, 1916, by the Outlook Publishing Co.

[Illustration: BOOKER T. WASHINGTON]


In the passing of a character so unique as Dr. Booker T. Washington,
many of us, his friends, were anxious that his biography should be
written by those best qualified to do so. It is therefore a source of
gratification to us of his own race to have an account of Dr.
Washington's career set forth in a form at once accurate and readable,
such as will inspire unborn generations of Negroes and others to love
and appreciate all mankind of whatever race or color. It is especially
all America best fitted, by antecedents and by intimate acquaintance
and association with Dr. Washington, to undertake it. Mr. Lyman
Beecher Stowe is the grandson of Harriet Beecher Stowe, whose "Uncle
Tom's Cabin" had a very direct influence on the abolition of slavery,
and Mr. Emmett J. Scott was Dr. Washington's loyal and trusted
secretary for eighteen years.

Principal Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute.

_Tuskegee Institute, Alabama,_
  _August 1, 1916._


This is not a biography in the ordinary sense. The exhaustive "Life
and Letters of Booker T. Washington" remains still to be compiled. In
this more modest work we have simply sought to present and interpret
the chief phases of the life of this man who rose from a slave boy to
be the leader of ten millions of people and to take his place for all
time among America's great men. In fact, we have not even touched upon
his childhood, early training, and education, because we felt the
story of those early struggles and privations had been ultimately well
told in his own words in "Up from Slavery." This autobiography,
however, published as it was fifteen years before his death, brings
the story of his life only to the threshold of his greatest
achievements. In this book we seek to give the full fruition of his
life's work. Each chapter is complete in itself. Each presents a
complete, although by no means exhaustive, picture of some phase of
his life.

We take no small satisfaction in the fact that we were personally
selected by Booker Washington himself for this task. He considered us
qualified to produce what he wanted: namely, a record of his struggles
and achievements at once accurate and readable, put in permanent form
for the information of the public. He believed that such a record
could best be furnished by his confidential associate, working in
collaboration with a trained and experienced writer, sympathetically
interested in the welfare of the Negro race. This, then, is what we
have tried to do and the way we have tried to do it.

We completed the first four chapters before Mr. Washington's death,
but he never read them. In fact, it was our wish, to which he agreed,
that he should not read what we had written until its publication in
book form.



It is not hyperbole to say that Booker T. Washington was a great
American. For twenty years before his death he had been the most
useful, as well as the most distinguished, member of his race in the
world, and one of the most useful, as well as one of the most
distinguished, of American citizens of any race.

Eminent though his services were to the people of his own color, the
white men of our Republic were almost as much indebted to him, both
directly and indirectly. They were indebted to him directly, because
of the work he did on behalf of industrial education for the Negro,
thus giving impetus to the work for the industrial education of the
White Man, which is, at least, as necessary; and, moreover, every
successful effort to turn the thoughts of the natural leaders of the
Negro race into the fields of business endeavor, of agricultural
effort, of every species of success in private life, is not only to
their advantage, but to the advantage of the White Man, as tending to
remove the friction and trouble that inevitably come throughout the
South at this time in any Negro district where the Negroes turn for
their advancement primarily to political life.

The indirect indebtedness of the White Race to Booker T. Washington
is due to the simple fact that here in America we are all in the end
going up or down together; and therefore, in the long run, the man who
makes a substantial contribution toward uplifting any part of the
community has helped to uplift all of the community. Wherever in our
land the Negro remains uneducated, and liable to criminal suggestion,
it is absolutely certain that the whites will themselves tend to tread
the paths of barbarism; and wherever we find the colored people as a
whole engaged in successful work to better themselves, and respecting
both themselves and others, there we shall also find the tone of the
white community high.

The patriotic white man with an interest in the welfare of this
country is almost as heavily indebted to Booker T. Washington as the
colored men themselves.

If there is any lesson, more essential than any other, for this
country to learn, it is the lesson that the enjoyment of rights should
be made conditional upon the performance of duty. For one failure in
the history of our country which is due to the people not asserting
their rights, there are hundreds due to their not performing their
duties. This is just as true of the White Man as it is of the Colored
Man. But it is a lesson even more important to be taught the Colored
Man, because the Negro starts at the bottom of the ladder and will
never develop the strength to climb even a single rung if he follow
the lead of those who dwell only upon their rights and not upon their
duties. He has a hard road to travel anyhow. He is certain to be
treated with much injustice, and although he will encounter among
white men a number who wish to help him upward and onward, he will
encounter only too many who, if they do him no bodily harm, yet show a
brutal lack of consideration for him. Nevertheless his one safety lies
in steadily keeping in view that the law of service is the great law
of life, above all in this Republic, and that no man of color can
benefit either himself or the rest of his race, unless he proves by
his life his adherence to this law. Such a life is not easy for the
White Man, and it is very much less easy for the Black Man; but it is
even more important for the Black Man, and for the Black Man's people,
that he should lead it.

As nearly as any man I have ever met, Booker T. Washington lived up to
Micah's verse, "What more doth the Lord require of thee than to do
Justice and love Mercy and walk humbly with thy God." He did justice
to every man. He did justice to those to whom it was a hard thing to
do justice. He showed mercy; and this meant that he showed mercy not
only to the poor, and to those beneath him, but that he showed mercy
by an understanding of the shortcomings of those who failed to do him
justice, and failed to do his race justice. He always understood and
acted upon the belief that the Black Man could not rise if he so acted
as to incur the enmity and hatred of the White Man; that it was of
prime importance to the well-being of the Black Man to earn the good
will of his white neighbor, and that the bulk of the Black Men who
dwell in the Southern States must realize that the White Men who are
their immediate physical neighbors are beyond all others those whose
good will and respect it is of vital consequence that the Black Men of
the South should secure.

He was never led away, as the educated Negro so often is led away,
into the pursuit of fantastic visions; into the drawing up of plans
fit only for a world of two dimensions. He kept his high ideals,
always; but he never forgot for a moment that he was living in an
actual world of three dimensions, in a world of unpleasant facts,
where those unpleasant facts have to be faced; and he made the best
possible out of a bad situation from which there was no ideal best to
be obtained. And he walked humbly with his God.

To a very extraordinary degree he combined humility and dignity; and I
think that the explanation of this extraordinary degree of success in
a very difficult combination was due to the fact that at the bottom
his humility was really the outward expression, not of a servile
attitude toward any man, but of the spiritual fact that in very truth
he walked humbly with his God.

Nowhere was Booker T. Washington's wisdom shown better than in the
mixture of moderation and firmness with which he took precisely the
right position as to the part the Black Man should try to take in
politics. He put the whole case in a nutshell in the following

"In my opinion it is a fatal mistake to teach the young black man and
the young white man that the dominance of the white race in the South
rests upon any other basis than absolute justice to the weaker man. It
is a mistake to cultivate in the mind of any individual or group of
individuals the feeling and belief that their happiness rests upon the
misery of some one else, or their wealth upon the poverty of some one
else. I do not advocate that the Negro make politics or the holding of
office an important thing in his life. I do urge, in the interests of
fair play for everybody, that a Negro who prepares himself in
property, in intelligence, and in character to cast a ballot, and
desires to do so, should have the opportunity."

In other words, while he did not believe that political activity
should play an important part among Negroes as a whole, he did believe
that in the interests of the White, as well as in the interests of the
Colored race, the upright, honest, intelligent Black Man or Colored
Man should be given the right to cast a ballot if he possessed the
qualities which, if possessed by a White Man, would make that White
Man a valuable addition to the suffrage-exercising class.

No man, White or Black, was more keenly alive than Booker T.
Washington to the threat of the South, and to the whole country, and
especially to the Black Man himself, contained in the mass of
ignorant, propertyless, semi-vicious Black voters, wholly lacking in
the character which alone fits a race for self-government, who
nevertheless have been given the ballot in certain Southern States.

In my many conversations and consultations with him it is, I believe,
not an exaggeration to say that one-half the time we were discussing
methods for keeping out of office, and out of all political power, the
ignorant, semi-criminal, shiftless Black Man who, when manipulated by
the able and unscrupulous politician, Black or White, is so dreadful a
menace to our political institutions. But he felt very strongly, and I
felt no less strongly, that one of the most efficient ways of warring
against this evil type was to show the Negro that, if he turned his
back on that type, and fitted himself to be a self-respecting citizen,
doing his part in sustaining the common burdens of good citizenship,
he would be freely accorded by his White neighbors the privileges and
rights of good citizenship. Surely there can be no objection to this.
Surely there can be no serious objection thus to keep open the door of
hope for the thoroughly decent, upright, self-respecting man, no
matter what his color.

In the same way, while Booker T. Washington firmly believed that the
attention of the Colored race should be riveted, not on political
life, but on success sought in the fields of honest business endeavor,
he also felt, and I agreed with him, that it was to the interest of
both races that there should be appointments to office of Black Men
whose characters and abilities were such that if they were White Men
their appointments would be hailed as being well above the average,
and creditable from every standpoint. He also felt, and I agreed with
him, that it was essential that these appointments should be made
relatively most numerous in the North--for it is worse than useless to
preach virtue to others, unless the preachers themselves practise it;
which means that the Northern communities, which pride themselves on
possessing the proper attitude toward the Negro, should show this
attitude by their own acts within their own borders.

I profited very much by my association with Booker T. Washington. I
owed him much along many different lines. I valued greatly his
friendship and respect; and when he died I mourned his loss as a
patriot and an American.


_Sagamore Hill,_
  _August 28, 1916._



FOREWORD BY ROBERT R. MOTON                                v

AUTHORS' PREFACE                                         vii

PREFACE BY THEODORE ROOSEVELT                             ix


   I. THE MAN AND HIS SCHOOL IN THE MAKING                 3

  II. LEADER OF HIS RACE                                  19

 III. WASHINGTON: THE EDUCATOR                            57

  IV. THE RIGHTS OF THE NEGRO                             82

   V. MEETING RACE PREJUDICE                             107

  VI. GETTING CLOSE TO THE PEOPLE                        135





  XI. MANAGING A GREAT INSTITUTION                       272

 XII. WASHINGTON: THE MAN                                300


Booker T. Washington                               _Frontispiece_


Tuskegee in the making. Nothing delighted Mr.
  Washington more than to see his students doing
  the actual work of erecting the Tuskegee
  Institute buildings                                          12

Tuskegee Institute students laying the foundation
  for one of the four Emery buildings                          14

"His influence, like that of his school, was at first
  community wide, then county wide, then State
  wide, and finally nation wide"                               16

A study in black. Note the tensity of expression
  with which the group is following his each and
  every word                                                   32

Showing some of the teams of farmers attending the
  Annual Tuskegee Negro Conference                             58

An academic class. A problem in brick masonry                  62

Mr. Washington in characteristic pose addressing
  an audience                                                 136

Mr. Washington silhouetted against the crowd upon
  one of his educational tours                                136

Mr. Washington in typical pose speaking to an
  audience                                                    136

A party of friends who accompanied Dr. Washington
  on one of his educational tours                             138

This old woman was a regular attendant at the
  Tuskegee Negro Conference                                   170

The cosmopolitan character of the Tuskegee student
  body is shown by the fact that during the
  past year students have come from the foreign
  countries or colonies of foreign countries indicated
  by the various flags shown in this picture                  238

In 1906 the Tuskegee Institute celebrated its 25th
  Anniversary. A group of well-known American
  characters attended                                         248

Some of Mr. Washington's humble friends                       274

Soil analysis. The students are required to work
  out in the laboratory the problems of the field
  and the shop                                                274

Mr. Washington was a great believer in the sweet
  potato                                                      280

Mr. Washington had this picture especially posed
  to show off to the best advantage a part of the
  Tuskegee dairy herd                                         290

Mr. Washington feeding his chickens with green
  stuffs raised in his own garden                             306

Mr. Washington in his onion patch                             306

Mr. Washington sorting in his lettuce bed                     306





It came about that in the year 1880, in Macon County, Alabama, a
certain ex-Confederate colonel conceived the idea that if he could
secure the Negro vote he could beat his rival and win the seat he
coveted in the State Legislature. Accordingly, the colonel went to the
leading Negro in the town of Tuskegee and asked him what he could do
to secure the Negro vote, for Negroes then voted in Alabama without
restriction. This man, Lewis Adams by name, himself an ex-slave,
promptly replied that what his race most wanted was education and what
they most needed was industrial education, and that if he (the
colonel) would agree to work for the passage of a bill appropriating
money for the maintenance of an industrial school for Negroes, he
(Adams) would help to get for him the Negro vote and the election.
This bargain between an ex-slaveholder and an ex-slave was made and
faithfully observed on both sides, with the result that the following
year the Legislature of Alabama appropriated $2,000 a year for the
establishment of a normal and industrial school for Negroes in the
town of Tuskegee. On the recommendation of General Armstrong of
Hampton Institute a young colored man, Booker T. Washington, a recent
graduate of and teacher at the Institute, was called from there to
take charge of this landless, buildingless, teacherless, and
studentless institution of learning.

This move turned out to be a fatal mistake in the political career of
the colonel. The appellation of "nigger lover" kept him ever after
firmly wedged in his political grave. Thus, by the same stroke, was
the career of an ex-slaveholder wrecked and that of an ex-slave made.
This political blunder of a local office-seeker gave to education one
of its great formative institutions, to the Negro race its greatest
leader, and to America one of its greatest citizens.

One is tempted to feel that Booker T. Washington was always popular
and successful. On the contrary, for many years he had to fight his
way inch by inch against the bitterest opposition, not only of the
whites, but of his own race. At that time there was scarcely a Negro
leader of any prominence who was not either a politician or a
preacher. In the introduction to "Up from Slavery," Mr. Walter H. Page
says of his first experience many years ago with Booker Washington: "I
had occasion to write to him, and I addressed him as 'The Rev. Booker
T. Washington.' In his reply there was no mention of my addressing him
as a clergyman. But when I had occasion to write to him again, and
persisted in making him a preacher, his second letter brought a
postscript: 'I have no claim to Rev.' I knew most of the colored men
who at that time had become prominent as leaders of their race, but I
had not then known one who was neither a politician nor a preacher;
and I had not heard of the head of an important colored school who
was not a preacher. 'A new kind of man in the colored world,' I said
to myself--'a new kind of man surely if he looks upon his task as an
economic one instead of a theological one."

And just because Booker Washington did look "upon his task as an
economic one instead of a theological one" he was at first regarded
with suspicion by most of the preachers of his race and by some openly
denounced as irreligious and the founder of an irreligious school.
Like so many men of greater opportunity in all ages and places, many
of these Negro ministers confounded theology and religion. Finding no
theology about Booker Washington or his school, they assumed there was
no religion. Some of them even went so far as to warn their
congregations from the pulpit to keep away from this Godless man and
his Godless school. To this formidable and at first almost universal
opposition from the leaders among his own people was added the more
natural opposition of the neighboring white men who assumed that he
was "spoiling the niggers" by education. A youth with a high collar,
loud necktie, checked suit, and patent-leather shoes, dangling a cane,
smoking a cigarette, and loitering impudently on a street corner was
their mental picture of an educated Negro.

Among the original group of thirty students with whom Mr. Washington
started Tuskegee Institute on an old plantation equipped with a
kitchen, a stable, and a hen-house, was a now elderly man who to-day
has charge of the spacious and beautiful grounds of the Institute. He
was approaching middle age when he entered this original Tuskegee
class. The following is a paraphrase of his account of the early days
of the school: "After we'd been out on the plantation three or four
weeks Mr. Washington came into the schoolroom and said: 'To-morrow
we're going to have a chopping bee. All of you that have an axe, or
can borrow one, must bring it. I will try and provide those of you who
cannot furnish an axe. We will dismiss school early to-morrow
afternoon and start for the chopping bee.' So we came to school next
day with the axes, all of us that could get them; we were all excited
and eager for that chopping bee, and we were all discussing what it
would be like, because we had never been to one before. So in the
afternoon Mr. Washington said it was time for that chopping bee, so he
put his axe over his shoulder and led us to the woods and put us to
work cutting the trees and clearing the land. He went right in and
worked harder and faster and handled his axe better than any of us.
After a while we found that a chopping bee, as he called it, was no
different from just plain cutting down trees and clearing the land.
There wasn't anything new about that--we all had had all we wanted of
it. Some of the boys said they didn't come to school to cut down trees
and clear land, but they couldn't say they were too good for that kind
of work when Mr. Washington himself was at it harder than any of them.
So he kept with us for some days till everybody had his idea. Then he
went off to do something more important.

"Now, in those days he used to go off every Saturday morning and he
wouldn't come back till Monday morning. He'd travel all round the
country drumming up students for the school and telling the people to
send their children. And on Sunday he'd get the preachers to let him
get up in their pulpits and tell the people about the school after
they had finished preaching. And the preachers would warn their people
against him and his school, because they said it wasn't Methodist, and
it wasn't Baptist, and it wasn't Presbyterian, and it wasn't
Episcopalian, and it wasn't Christian. And they told the people to
keep their children away from that Godless man and his school. But
when he came along and asked to speak to the people they had to leave
him, just as everybody always did--let him do just what he wanted to
do. And when they heard him, the people, they didn't pay no attention
to the preachers, they just sent their children as fast as ever they
could contrive it.

"Now, in those days Mr. Washington didn't have a horse, nor a mule,
nor a wagon, and he wanted to cover more country on those trips than
he could afoot, so he'd just go out in the middle of the road and when
some old black man would come along driving his mule wagon he'd stop
him and talk with him, and tell him about the school and what it was
going to do for the black folks, and then he'd say: 'Now, Uncle, you
can help by bringing your wagon and mule round at nine o'clock
Saturday morning for me to go off round the country telling the people
about the school. Now, remember, Uncle Jake, please be here promptly
at nine,' and the old man would say, 'Yes, boss, I sure will be
here!' That was how he did it--when he needed anything he'd go out and
put his hand on it. First, he could put his hand on anything he wanted
round the town; then, he could put his hand on anything he wanted all
over the county; then he could put his hand on anything he wanted all
over the State; and then finally they do tell me he could put his hand
on anything he wanted away up to New York.

"In those days, after we came to live here on the 'plantation,' I used
to take the wheelbarrow and go round to the office when Mr. Washington
opened up the mail in the morning, and if there was money in the mail
then I could go along to the town with the wheelbarrow and get
provisions, and if there was no money then there was no occasion to go
to town, and we'd just eat what we had left. Most of the white
storekeepers wouldn't give us credit, and they didn't want a 'nigger
school' here anyhow. Times have changed. Now those storekeepers get a
large proportion of their trade here at the Institute, and if there
should be any talk of moving, they'd just get up and fight to the last
to keep us here and keep our trade.

"And in those days the Negro preachers, or the most of them, and the
white folks, or the most of them, were always trying to dispute with
Mr. Washington and quarrel with him, but he just kept his mouth shut
and went ahead. He kept pleasant and he wouldn't dispute with them,
nor argue with them, nor quarrel with them. When the white folks would
come round and tell him he was 'spoiling good niggers by education,'
he would just ask them to wait patiently and give him time to show
them what the right kind of education would do. And when the colored
preachers would come round and tell him he was no Christian, and his
school had no religion, he would ask them to just wait and see if the
boys and girls were any less Christian because of the education they
were getting. But whoever came along and whatever happened Mr.
Washington just kept his mouth shut and went ahead.

"After two years of school I went out and rented some land and planted
cotton, and just about time to harvest my crop Mr. Washington sent for
me one Saturday and said: 'I need you. I want you to come back and
work for the school on the farm. I want you to start in Monday
morning.' When I told him about my cotton crop just ready to be picked
he said: 'Can't help that, we need you. You'll have to arrange with
your neighbors to harvest your crop for you.'"

To the inquiry, "Well, did you come?" the old man replied, "Of course
I did. When Mr. Washington said come I came same as everybody did what
he told them. I got a neighbor to harvest my crop and I lost money on
it, but I came to work that Monday morning more than thirty years ago,
and I've been here ever since."

The idea of not doing what Mr. Washington wanted him to do, or even
arguing the matter, was evidently inconceivable to this old man. He
had always obeyed Mr. Washington just as he had obeyed the laws of
nature by sleeping and eating. That is the kind of control which
Booker Washington always exercised over his fellow-workers. He
accepted their implicit obedience as naturally and simply as they gave

As Mr. Page also points out in the introduction to "Up from Slavery,"
however humble Mr. Washington's origin may have been, what might be
termed his intellectual pedigree was of the highest and finest. He may
be called, in fact, the spiritual grandson of the great Dr. Mark
Hopkins of Williams College. Just as Samuel Armstrong was perhaps the
most receptive of Mark Hopkins' pupils, so Booker Washington became
the most receptive pupil of Samuel Armstrong. As says Mr. Page: "To
the formation of Mr. Washington's character, then, went the missionary
zeal of New England, influenced by one of the strongest personalities
in modern education, and the wide-reaching moral earnestness of
General Armstrong himself." In his autobiography Mr. Washington thus
describes General Armstrong's influence and the impression he made
upon him: "It has been my fortune to meet personally many of what are
called great characters, both in Europe and America, but I do not
hesitate to say that I never met any man who, in my estimation, was
the equal of General Armstrong. Fresh from the degrading influences of
the slave plantation and the coal mines, it was a rare privilege for
me to be permitted to come into direct contact with such a character
as General Armstrong. I shall always remember that the first time I
went into his presence he made the impression upon me of being a
perfect man; I was made to feel that there was something about him
that was superhuman. It was my privilege to know the General
personally from the time I entered Hampton till he died, and the more
I saw of him the greater he grew in my estimation. One might have
removed from Hampton all the buildings, classrooms, teachers, and
industries, and given the men and women there the opportunity of
coming into daily contact with General Armstrong, and that alone would
have been a liberal education. (This recalls President Garfield's
definition of a university when he said, 'my idea of a university is a
log with Mark Hopkins on one end and a boy on the other.') The older I
grow, the more I am convinced that there is no education which one can
get from books and costly apparatus that is equal to that which can be
gotten from contact with great men and women. Instead of studying
books so constantly, how I wish that our schools and colleges might
learn to study men and things!"

When the young man imbued with these ideas and fresh from these
influences found himself responsible for the destinies of a
studentless, teacherless, buildingless, and landless school it is
significant how he went to work to supply these manifold deficiencies.
First, he found a place in which to open the school--a dilapidated
shanty church, the A.M.E. Zion Church for Negroes, in the town of
Tuskegee. Next he went about the surrounding countryside, found out
exactly under what conditions the people were living and what their
needs were, and advertised the school among the class of people whom
he wanted to have attend it. After returning from these experiences
he said: "I saw more clearly than ever the wisdom of the system which
General Armstrong had inaugurated at Hampton. To take the children of
such people as I had been among for a month, and each day give them a
few hours of mere book education, I felt would be almost a waste of

Six weeks after the school was opened, on July 4, 1881, in the shanty
Methodist Church with thirty students, Miss Olivia A. Davidson entered
the school, the enrollment of which had already grown to fifty, as
assistant teacher. She subsequently became Mrs. Washington. The school
then had students, a teacher, and a building such as it was, but it
had no land. It was succeeding in so far as teaching these eager and
knowledge hungry young people what could be learned from books, but
little more. Mr. Washington found that about 85 per cent. of the
Negroes of the Gulf States lived on the land and were dependent upon
agriculture for their livelihood. Hence, he reasoned that it was of
supreme importance to teach them how to live on the land to the best
advantage. In order to teach the students how to live on the land the
school itself must have land. About this time an old plantation near
the town of Tuskegee came upon the market. The school had no money.
Mr. Washington had no money, and the $2,000 a year from the State
Treasury could be used only for the payment of teachers. Accordingly
Mr. Washington personally borrowed the $250, from a personal friend,
necessary to secure title to the land, and moved the school from the
shanty church to the comparative comfort of four aged cabins
formerly used as the dining-room, kitchen, stable, and hen-house of
the plantation.

[Illustration: Tuskegee in the making. Nothing delighted Mr.
Washington more than to see his students doing the actual work of
erecting the Tuskegee Institute buildings. A group of students raising
the roof on one of the buildings.]

And as soon as they were established in their new quarters he
organized the "chopping bee" already described and cleared some of the
land so that it could be used for crops. He did not clear and plant
this land to give his students agricultural training. He did it for
the purpose that all land was originally cleared and planted--to get
food. He, of course, realized that the educational content of this
work was great--greater than any possible textbook exercises in the
classroom. He then and there began the long and difficult task of
teaching his people that physical work, and particularly farm work, if
rightly done was education, and that education was work. To secure the
acceptance of this truth by a race only recently emancipated from over
two hundred years of unrequited toil--a race that had always regarded
freedom from the necessity for work as an indication of
superiority--was not a hopeful task. To them education was the
antithesis of work. It was the magic elixir which emancipated all
those fortunate enough to drink of it from the necessity for work.

He also began to emphasize at this time his familiar dictum that
learning to do the common things of life in an uncommon way was an
essential part of real education. Probably the reverse of this dictum,
namely, learning to do the uncommon things of life in a common
way--would have more nearly corresponded to the popular conception of
education among most Negroes and many whites.

Mr. Washington later developed a brickyard where, after a series of
failures sufficient to convince any ordinary man of the hopelessness
of the enterprise, they finally succeeded in baking creditable bricks
which were used by the students in the construction of buildings for
the school. He did not start this brickyard for the purpose of
vocational training any more than he started the farm for agricultural
training. He started it because they needed bricks with which to
build buildings in which to live, just as he started the farm to raise
food upon which to live. He saw to it, however, that the brickyard was
used as an instrument of education and was never allowed to degenerate
into a mere brickyard and nothing more, just as he saw to it that the
farm was used as a means of education and was not allowed to
degenerate into a mere farm and nothing more. It was even more
difficult to persuade the students that the hard, heavy, dirty work of
the brickyard was education than it had been to persuade them that
farm work was education. Mr. Washington wasted no time in arguing this
point, however, but merely insisted that without bricks they could not
put up proper buildings, and that without buildings they could not
have such a school as they must have not only for themselves but for
their race.

[Illustration: Tuskegee Institute students laying the foundation for
one of the four Emery buildings--boys' dormitories.]

So this originally landless, buildingless, studentless, and
teacherless school came eventually to have all four of these obvious
requisites, but it still lacked a fundamental requirement for the
effective fulfillment of its purpose. It lacked a boarding department
where the students might learn to live. In his tours among the people
Mr. Washington had found the great majority in the plantation
districts living on fat pork and corn bread, and sleeping in
one-room cabins. They planted nothing but cotton, bought their food at
the nearest village or town market instead of raising it, and lived
under conditions where the fundamental laws of hygiene and decent
social intercourse were both unknown and impossible of application.
The young men and women from such homes must be taught how to live in
houses with more than one room, how to keep their persons and their
surroundings clean, how to sleep in a bed between sheets, how not only
to raise but to prepare, serve, and eat a healthful variety of proper
food at regular and stated intervals, to say nothing of a trade by
which to maintain themselves both during their course and after
graduation as well as the usual book learning of the ordinary school.
Obviously they could not be taught these things unless they lived day
and night on the school grounds instead of boarding about with people
whose standards of living were very little if at all higher than those
of their homes. Accordingly volunteers were called for, and the
students made an excavation under their new brick building which was
made into a basement kitchen and dining-room. As Mr. Washington says
in "Up from Slavery," "We had nothing but the students and their
appetites with which to begin a boarding department." As soon as this
boarding department was established it became possible to influence
directly the lives of the students during the entire twenty-four hours
of the day. From then on each student was required to have and to use
a toothbrush. Mr. Washington has since remarked that, in his opinion,
the toothbrush is the most potent single instrument of civilization.
Then, too, it was possible for him to begin to enforce this injunction
taken from one of his now well-known Sunday night talks, "Make a study
of the preparation of food. See to it that a certain ceremony, a
certain importance, be attached to the partaking of the food----" This
exhortation sounds so commonplace as to be scarcely noticed by the
average reader, but just put yourself in the place of one of these
boys or girls who came from a one-room cabin and realize what a
profoundly revolutionary, even sensational, injunction it is! To the
boy or girl who had snatched a morsel of food here, there, or anywhere
when prompted by the gnawings of hunger, who had never sat down to a
regular meal, who had never partaken of a meal placed upon a table
with or without ceremony--imagine what it meant to such a boy or girl
"to see to it that a certain ceremony, a certain importance, be
attached to the partaking of the food"--not on special occasions but
at each one of the three meals of each day!

Finally it came about that this school which had started with a paltry
$2,000 a year, a great need, and the invincible determination of one
man, came to have land, buildings, teachers, students, and even a
boarding department. But in Mr. Washington's view there was still a
great fundamental lack in their work. They were doing nothing directly
to help those less fortunate than themselves--those about them who
could not come and enjoy the advantages of the school. Mr. Washington
held that as soon as an individual got hold of anything as useful
and desirable as education he should take immediate means to hand
it on to the greatest possible number of those who needed it. He had
no patience with those persons who would climb the tree of knowledge
and then pull the ladder up after them.


"His influence, like that of his school, was at first community wide,
then county wide, then state wide, and finally nation wide."]

He and his teachers then began to go out on Sundays and give the
people homely talks on how to improve their living conditions. They
encouraged the farmers to come to the school farm and learn how to
grow a variety of crops to supplement the cotton crop which was their
sole reliance. They relieved the distress of individual families. Mrs.
Washington gathered together in an old loft the farmers' wives and
daughters who were in the habit of loafing about the village of
Tuskegee on Saturday afternoons and formed them into a woman's club
for the improvement of the living conditions in their homes and
communities. Mr. Washington and his teachers went right on to the
farms and into the homes, and into the churches and the schools, and
everywhere showed, for the most part by concrete object-lessons, how
they could make their farms more productive, their homes more
comfortable, their schools more useful, and their church services more
inspiring. All this was done not with an idea of starting an extension
department or a social service department, but merely because these
people needed help, and Mr. Washington knew that both teachers and
students would help themselves in helping them. Finally, chiefly
through the efforts of Mrs. Washington, a model country school was
established in the district adjoining the Institute's property. This
school is a farm home where the young teacher and his wife, both
graduates of Tuskegee, teach the boys and girls who come to them each
day how to live on a farm--teach them by practice and object-lesson as
well as by precept. They follow the ordinary country school
curriculum, but that is a small and relatively unimportant part of
what this school gives its pupils. Then, too, the teachers of Tuskegee
early started campaigns looking to the extending of the school terms
throughout Macon County and the adjoining counties from three to five
months, as was customary, to nine months.

And this work of Tuskegee beyond its own borders grew as constantly in
volume and extent as the work within its borders, so that Tuskegee
soon became the vital force--the yeast that was raising the level of
life and well-being throughout, first, the town and neighborhood of
Tuskegee, then the County of Macon, then the surrounding counties and
the State of Alabama; and finally, in conjunction with its mother,
Hampton, and its children situated at strategic points throughout the
South, the entire Negro people of the South, and indirectly the whole

And as the school grew, so grew the man whose life was its embodiment.
It is impossible to think of Booker Washington and Tuskegee
separately. Just as he typified Tuskegee, so Tuskegee typified him.
Just as he made the school, so the school made him. His influence,
like that of his school, was at first community wide, then county
wide, then State wide, and finally nation wide.



In 1895, fourteen years after the founding of Tuskegee Institute,
Booker T. Washington was selected to represent his race at the opening
of the Cotton States and International Exposition in Atlanta, Georgia.
On this occasion he mounted the platform, to make the first address
which any member of his race had ever made before any representative
body of Southern men and women, as an obscure but worthy young colored
man who had commended himself to a few thinking persons by building up
an excellent industrial school for his people. He came off that
platform amid scenes of almost hysterical enthusiasm and was
thenceforth proclaimed as the leader of his race, the Moses of his
people, and one of America's great men.

In this epoch-making speech Booker Washington had presented a solution
of an apparently insoluble problem. He had offered a platform upon
which, as Clark Howell said in the Atlanta _Constitution_, "both
races, blacks and whites, could stand with full justice to each." In
the course of the speech he told this story: "A ship lost at sea for
many days suddenly sighted a friendly vessel. From the mast of the
unfortunate vessel was seen a signal: 'Water, water; we die of
thirst!' The answer from the friendly vessel at once came back: 'Cast
down your bucket where you are.' A second time the signal, 'Water,
water, send us water!' ran up from the distressed vessel, and was
answered: 'Cast down your bucket where you are.' And a third and
fourth signal for water was answered, 'Cast down your bucket where you
are.' The captain of the distressed vessel, at last heeding the
injunction, cast down his bucket, and it came up full of fresh,
sparkling water from the mouth of the Amazon River." He then appealed
to his own people to "cast down their buckets where they were" by
making friends with their white neighbors in every manly way, by
training themselves where they were in agriculture, in mechanics, in
commerce, instead of trying to better their condition by migration.
And finally to the Southern white people he appealed "to cast down
their buckets where they were" by using and training the Negroes whom
they knew rather than seeking to import foreign laborers whom they did
not know.

When he reached the crux and climax of the speech--the delicate matter
of the relations between the races, socially--he held up his right
hand with his fingers outstretched and said: "In all things that are
purely social we can be as separate as the fingers, yet one as the
hand in all things essential to mutual progress." At this remark the
audience went wild! Ladies stood on their chairs and waved their
handkerchiefs, while men threw up their hats, danced, and catcalled.
An old ante-bellum Negro, who had been sitting crosslegged in one of
the aisles, wept tears of pride and joy as he swayed from side to
side. By this statement, with what had led up to it, Booker Washington
captured the allegiance of all really representative Southern whites,
and by consistently adhering to this position he, in an
ever-increasing degree, won and held their allegiance till the end.

Frederick Douglass, the great leader of his race during the closing
days of slavery, during the War and the Reconstruction period, had
died only a few months before. Everywhere, by leading whites, as well
as blacks, Washington was acclaimed as the successor of Douglass--the
new leader of the Negro race. One of the first colored men so to
acclaim him was Emmett J. Scott, who was then editing a Negro
newspaper in Houston, Texas, and little realized that he was to become
the most intimate associate of the new leader. In an editorial Mr.
Scott said of this address: "Without resort to exaggeration, it is but
simple justice to call the address great. It was great! Great, in that
it exhibited the speaker's qualities of head and heart; great in that
he could and did discriminately recognize conditions as they affect
his people, and greater still in the absolute modesty, self-respect,
and dignity with which he presented a platform upon which, as Clark
Howell, of the Atlanta _Constitution_ says: 'both races, blacks and
whites, can stand with full justice to each.'" Perhaps the most
remarkable feature of Booker Washington's leadership was that from
that time on he never deviated one hair's breadth in word or deed from
the platform laid down in this brief address.

It was not to be expected, however, that such a radically new note in
Negro leadership could be struck without some discord. As was
perfectly natural, some more or less prominent Negroes, whose mental
processes followed the lines of cleavage between the races engendered
by the embittering experiences of the Reconstruction period, looked
with suspicion upon a Negro leader who had won the approbation of the
South, of leading white citizens, press, and public. In the days of
slavery it was a frequent custom on large plantations to use one of
the slaves as a kind of stool pigeon to spy upon the others and report
their misdeeds. Naturally such persons were hated and despised and
looked upon as traitors to their race. Hence, it came about that the
praise of a white man was apt to throw suspicion upon the racial
loyalty of a black man. This habit of mind, like all mental habits,
long survived the system and circumstances which occasioned it.
Therefore, it was inevitable that the fact that the white press
throughout the South rang with his praises for days and weeks after
the sensationally enthusiastic reception of his speech at the
exposition should not be accepted as a desirable endorsement of the
new leader by at least a few of his own people.

A more or less conspicuous colored preacher summed up this slight
undertow of dissent when he said: "I want to pay my respects next to a
colored man. He is a great man, too, but he isn't our Moses, as the
white people are pleased to call him. I allude to Booker T.
Washington. He has been with the white people so long that he has
learned to throw sop with the rest. He made a speech at Atlanta the
other day, and the newspapers of all the large cities praised it and
called it the greatest speech ever delivered by a colored man. When I
heard that, I said: 'There must be something wrong with it, or the
white people would not be praising it so.' I got the speech and read
it. Then I said, 'Ah, here it is,' and I read his words, 'the colored
people do not want social equality.' (This man's interpretation of
this sentence in the speech, "The wisest among my race understand that
the agitation of questions of social equality is the extremest folly,
and that progress in the enjoyment of all the privileges that will
come to us must be the result of severe and constant struggle rather
than of artificial forcing.") I tell you that is a lie. We do want
social equality. Why, don't you want your manhood recognized? Then Mr.
Washington said that our emancipation and enfranchisement were
untimely and a mistake; that we were not ready for it. (Naturally, Mr.
Washington said no such thing.) What did he say that for but to tickle
the palates of the white people? Oh, yes, he was shrewd. He will get
many hundreds of dollars for his school by it."

Let it not be thought that this attitude represented any large or
important body of opinion among the Negroes. The great majority both
of the leaders and the rank and file enthusiastically accepted both
the new leader and his new kind of leadership. The small minority,
however, holding the view of the preacher quoted, continued to cause
Booker Washington some annoyance, which, although continuously
lessening, persisted in some degree throughout his life. This
numerically small and individually unimportant element of the Negroes
in America would hardly warrant even passing mention except that the
always carping and sometimes bitter criticisms of these persons are
apt to confuse the well-wishers of the race who do not understand the

The Negroes holding this point of view are sometimes pleased to refer
to themselves as the Talented Tenth. They are largely city dwellers
who have had more or less of what they term "higher education"--Latin,
Greek, Theology, and the like. A number of these persons make all or a
part of their living by publicly bewailing the wrongs and injustices
of their race and demanding their redress by immediate means. Mr.
Washington's emphasis upon the advantages of Negroes in America and
the debt of gratitude which they owe to the whites, who have helped
them to make more progress in fifty years than any other race ever
made in a like period, is naturally very annoying to this type of
person. In spite of their constant abuse of him Mr. Washington some
years ago agreed to confer with the leaders of this faction to see if
a program could not be devised through which all could work together
instead of at cross purposes. In spite of the fact that the chief
exponent of this group opened the first meeting with a bitter attack
upon Mr. Washington, such a program was adopted, to which, before the
conferences were over, all duly and amicably agreed to adhere. Some of
the more restless spirits among the leaders of the Talented Tenth
soon, however, broke their pledges, repudiated the whole arrangement,
and started in as before to denounce Mr. Washington and those who
thought and acted with him.

After the Atlanta speech Mr. Washington's task was a dual one. While
the active head of his great and rapidly growing institution, he was
also the generally accepted leader of his race. It is with his
leadership of his race that we are concerned in this chapter. His
duties in this capacity were vast and ill defined, and his
responsibility exceedingly heavy. He said, himself, that when he first
came to be talked of as the leader of his race he was somewhat at a
loss to know what was expected of him in that capacity. His tasks in
this direction, however, were thrust upon him so thick and fast that
he had not long to remain in this state of mind. After the Atlanta
speech he was in almost daily contact with what was befalling his
people in all parts of the country and to some extent all over the
world. Through his press clipping service, supplemented by myriads of
letters and personal reports, practically every event of any
significance to his race came to his notice. When he heard of rioting,
lynching, or serious trouble in any community he sent a message of
advice, encouragement, or warning to the leading Negroes of the
locality and sometimes to the whites whom he knew to be interested in
the welfare of the Negroes. When the trouble was sufficiently serious
to warrant it he went in person to the scene. When he heard of a Negro
winning a prize at a county fair, or being placed in some position of
unusual trust and distinction, he wrote him a letter of
congratulation and learned the circumstances so that he might cite
the incident by way of encouragement to others.

After the riots in Atlanta, Georgia, some years ago, when infuriated
white mobs foiled in their efforts to lynch a Negro murderer, burned,
killed, and laid waste right and left in the Negro section of the
town, Mr. Washington, who was in the North at the time, boarded the
first train for the city, arrived just after the bloody scenes,
gathered together his frightened people amid the smoking ruins of
their homes, soothed, calmed, and cheered them. He then went to the
leading city officials, secured from them a promise of succor for the
stricken people and protection against further attack. Next he went to
the Governor of the State, secured his sympathy and coöperation, and
with him organized a conference of leading State and city officials
and other representative men who there and then mapped out a program
tending to prevent the recurrence of such race riots--a program which
up to the present time has successfully fulfilled its purpose. It is
characteristic of Mr. Washington's methods that he turned this
disaster into an ultimate blessing for the very community that was

Mr. Washington was the kind of leader who kept very close to the plain
people. He knew their every-day lives, their weaknesses, their
temptations. To use a slang phrase, he knew exactly what they "were up
against" whether they lived in country or city. Within a comparatively
short period before his death he addressed two audiences as widely
separated by distance and environment as the farmers gathered
together for the first Negro Fair of southwestern Georgia at Albany,
Georgia, and five thousand Negro residents of New York City assembled
in the Harlem Casino. He told those Georgia farmers how much land they
owned and to what extent it was mortgaged, how much land they leased,
how much cotton they raised, and how much of other crops they raised,
or, rather, did not raise; how many mules and hogs they owned, and how
they could with profit increase their ownership in mules and hogs; he
told them how many drug stores, grocery stores, and banks in the State
and county were owned by Negroes; and then, switching from the general
to the particular, he described the daily life of the ordinary,
easy-going tenant farmer of the locality. He pictured what he saw when
he came out of his unpainted house in the morning: that gate off the
hinges, that broken window-pane with an old coat stuck into it, that
cotton planted right up to the doors with no room left for a garden,
and no garden; and, worse than all, the uncomfortable knowledge of
debts concealed from the hard-working wife and mother. Then he
pictured what that same man's place might be and should become.

It was once said of a certain eminent preacher that his logic was on
fire. It might be said of Booker Washington that his statistics were
on fire. He marshalled them in such a way that they were dynamic and
stirring instead of static and paralyzing, as we all know them to our
sorrow. It so happened that Mr. Washington had never before been in
southwestern Georgia. After his speech one old farmer was heard to
say as he shook his head: "I don't understan' it! Booker T. Washington
he ain't never ben here befo', yit he knows mo' 'bout dese parts an'
mo' 'bout us den what eny of us knows ourselves." This old man did not
know that one of Mr. Washington's most painstaking and efficient
assistants, Mr. Monroe N. Work, the editor of the _Negro Year Book_,
devoted much of his time to keeping his chief provided with this
startlingly accurate information about his people in every section of
the United States.

On this occasion there were on the platform with Mr. Washington and
the officials of the fair the Mayor of Albany and members of the City
Council, while in the audience were several hundred whites on one side
of the centre aisle and twice as many blacks on the other. And Mr.
Washington would alternately address himself to his white and black
audience. He would, for instance, turn to the white men and tell them
that he had never known a particularly successful black man who could
not trace his original success to the aid or encouragement he had
received in one form or another from a white friend. He would tell
them that without their assistance his race could never have made more
progress in the last fifty years in this country than any similar
group of people had ever made in a like period of time. After he had
raised the white section of his audience to a high degree of
self-congratulatory complaisance he would suddenly shift the tenor of
his remarks and ask them why they should mar this splendid record by
discriminating against the weaker race in matters of education, by
destroying their confidence in the justice of the courts through mob
violence, and by the numerous small, mean ways in which race prejudice
shows itself and retards and discourages the upward struggle of a
weaker people. As he proceeded along these lines one could see the
self-congratulatory expression fade from the faces of his white

He would next turn to his own people and tell them of their phenomenal
progress since emancipation and of the great and essential part they
had played in the upbuilding of the South--left prostrate by the Civil
War. One could see their eager, upturned faces glow with pride and
self-satisfaction. But suddenly he would shift the tone of his
comments and tell them how sadly those of them who were indolent and
shiftless and unreliable and vicious were retarding the upward
struggles of the industrious and self-respecting majority and how they
were perpetuating the prejudice against the whole race. And as he
pictured this seamy side of the situation one could see the glow of
pride gradually wilt from the myriads of swarthy upturned faces.

Hardly less successful than his use of statistics was his use of the
much-abused funny story. He never told a story, however good, for its
own sake. He told it only when it would most effectively drive home
whatever point he happened to be making. In this same speech he was
saying that a Negro who is lazy and unreliable and does nothing to
accumulate property or improve his earning capacity deserves no
consideration from whites or blacks and has no right to say that the
color line is drawn against him. By way of illustration he told this
story: "A shiftless Southern poor white asked a self-respecting old
black man for three cents with which to pay his ferry fare across a
river. The old black man replied: I's sorry not to commerdate yer,
boss, but der fac' is dat a man what ain't got three cents is jest as
bad off on one side ob der ribber as der udder.'"

At another point in this speech he was telling his people not to be
discouraged because their race has less to point to than other races
in the way of past achievements. He said that after all it was the
future that was of vital concern and not the past, and that the future
was theirs to a peculiar degree because they were a young race. And to
illustrate their situation he told of meeting old Aunt Caroline one
evening striding along with a basket on her head. He said, "Where are
you going, Aunt Caroline?" And she replied: "Lor' bless yer, Mister
Washin'ton, I dun bin where I's er goin'." "And so," he concluded,
"some of the races of the earth have dun bin where dey was er goin'!"
but fortunately the Negro race was not among them.

In making the point that, in spite of race prejudice, the handicaps to
which his people were subjected in the South were after all
superficial and did not interfere with their chance to work and earn a
living, he told the experience of an old Negro who was accompanying
him on one of his Southern educational tours. At a certain city they
were obliged to wait several hours between trains, so this old man
took advantage of the opportunity to stroll about and see the sights
of the place. After a while he pulled out his watch and found he had
barely time to get back to the station before the train was due to
leave. Accordingly he rushed to a hack stand and called out to the
first driver he came to, who happened to be a white man: "Hurry up an'
take me to the station, I's gotta get the 4:32 train!" To which the
white hack driver replied: "I ain't never drove a nigger in my hack
yit an' I ain't goin' ter begin now. You can git a nigger driver ter
take ye down!"

To this the old colored man replied with perfect good nature: "All
right, my frien', we won't have no misunderstanding or trouble; I'll
tell you how we'll settle it: you jest hop in on der back seat an' do
der ridin' and I'll set in front an' do der drivin'." In this way they
reached the station amicably and the old man caught his train. Like
this old Negro, Mr. Washington always devoted his energies to catching
the train, and it made little difference to him whether he sat on the
front or the back seat.

A few months later, to the five thousand people of his own race in the
Harlem Casino in New York City, he described their daily lives, their
problems, perplexities, and temptations in terms as homely, as
picturesque, and as vivid as he used in talking to the Georgia
farmers. He urged them, just as he did the farmers, to stop moving
about and to settle down--"to stop _staying_ here and there and
everywhere and begin to _live_ somewhere." He urged them to leave the
little mechanical job of window washing, or what not, and go into
business for themselves, even if they could only afford a few
newspapers or peanuts to start with. He told of a certain New York
street where he had found all the people on one side of a row of push
carts were selling something, while all the people on the other side
were buying something. Those that were selling were white people,
while those that were buying were colored people. That, he said, was a
color line they had drawn themselves. He reminded them of the high
cost of living, and by way of example he commented upon the expense of
having to buy so many shoes. He said: "Up here you not only have to
have good, expensive shoes, but you have to wear them all the time."
And then he reminded them how back in the country down South, before
they came to the city, they would buy a pair of shoes at Christmas and
after Christmas put them away in the "chist" and not take them out
again until "big meeting day," and then wear them only in the meeting
and not walking to and from the church. And as he concluded with the
words, "Under those conditions shoes last a long time," people all
over the audience were chuckling and nudging and winking at one
another as people will when characteristic incidents in their past
lives are graphically recalled to them.

Then he described the almost innumerable temptations to spend money
which the city offers. Some of the store windows are so enticing that,
as he said, "the dollars almost jump out of your pockets as you go by
on the sidewalk." "Then you men working for rich men here in the city
smell the smoke of so many twenty-five-cent cigars that after a while
you feel as though you must smoke twenty-five-cent cigars. You don't
stop to think that when the grandfathers of those very men first came
from the country a hundred years ago they smoked two-for-five
cigars." Then he told of a family he had found living on the tenth
story of an electric-lighted, steam-heated apartment house with
elevator service, and this very family only two years before was
living in a two-room cabin in the Yazoo Valley on the Mississippi
bottoms. And he commented: "Now, that family's in danger. No people
can change as much and as fast as that without great danger!"

[Illustration: A study in black. Note the tensity of expression with
which the group is following his each and every word.]

Next he touched on the high rents and said: "You mothers know that
sooner or later you have to take in roomers to help pay that rent, and
after a while you take in Tom, Dick, or Harry, or anybody who's got
the money regardless of who or what they are, and you mothers know the
danger that spells for your daughters." (At this point he was
interrupted by a chorus of "amens" from women all over the great
hall.) He continued: "Now, you take the 'old man' aside an' tell him
straight, you're not going to have any more roomers hanging round your
house--that he's got to hustle for a better job or go into some little
business for himself, or move out into some little cottage in the
country, or do something to get rid of those Tom, Dick, and Harry

In short, in this speech Mr. Washington showed that he knew just as
intimately the lives of his people in the flats of Greater New York as
on the farms of southwestern Georgia.

In spite of his grasp of details Mr. Washington never became so
immersed in them as to lose sight of his ultimate goal, and conversely
he never became so blinded by the vision of his ultimate goal as to
overlook details. The solution of the so-called Negro problem in
America, he felt, is to be found along these lines: As his people have
more and more opportunity for training and become better and better
trained they become more and more self-sufficient. They are developing
their own carpenters, masons, blacksmiths, farmers, merchants, and
bankers as well as lawyers, teachers, preachers, and physicians. These
trained people naturally, for the most part, serve their own race, and
to them the members of the race naturally turn for the service that
each is equipped to render. As they acquire wealth, education, and
cultivation, the persons possessing these advantages naturally
intermingle socially and build up a society from which the rough,
ignorant, and uncouth of their own race are as inevitably excluded as
are such persons from all polite social intercourse of whatever
people. These Negroes of education and cultivation no more desire to
force themselves into the society of the other race than do any
persons of real education and cultivation desire to go where they are
not wanted. As the race increases in wealth and culture it becomes
more and more easy and natural for its successful members to satisfy
their social desires and ambitions in their own society. Already in
the centres of Negro prosperity and culture it would be almost, if not
quite, as impossible for a white man to be received into the best
Negro society as it would for a Negro to be received into the best
white society. This growing independence and self-sufficiency in the
trades, the professions, and social intercourse leads inevitably, as
he pointed out, to a form of natural segregation based upon economic
needs and social preferences, and in conformity to the laws of nature,
which is a very different matter from the artificial and arbitrary
segregation forced upon unwilling people by the laws of men. Under
these conditions the disputes as to whether the best society of the
blacks is inferior or superior to the best society of the whites
becomes as academic and futile as would be similar contentions as to
whether the best society of Constantinople is inferior or superior to
that of Boston.

While Negroes are more and more drawing apart from the whites into
their own section of the city, town, or county they nevertheless find
it a source of strength to live near the whites in order that they may
have the benefit of their aid in those matters in which the older and
stronger race excels. Nor is this an entirely one-sided advantage, as
there are not a few matters in which the Negroes have natural
advantages over the whites and hence may render them useful service.
Thus the two races, socially separated but economically
interdependent, may to mutual advantage live side by side.

Some persons claim that any such plan of race adjustment, while
theoretically plausible and ideally desirable, is nevertheless
practically impossible. They contend that no so radically different
races have ever lived side by side in harmony and each aiding the
other. However that may be, there remains the fact that such a
harmonious and mutually helpful relationship between the two races
does already exist in the town of Tuskegee, throughout Macon County,
and in many other of the more progressive localities throughout the
South to-day. And at the same time, the lynchings and riots and other
manifestations of racial conflict are continuously if slowly growing
less frequent. Whatever may be the relative strength of the two
theories, the facts are lining up in support of the Booker Washington
prophecy at the Atlanta Exposition when he said: "In all things that
are purely social we can be as separate as the fingers, yet one as the
hand in all things essential to mutual progress."

During the last twenty years of his life Mr. Washington came more and
more to be regarded as the representative and spokesman of his race,
and was invited to represent and speak for them at such national and
international gatherings as the annual conventions of the National
Negro Business League, of which he was the president and founder; the
great meeting in honor of the brotherhood of man, held in Boston in
1897; the Presbyterian rally for Home Missions, at which President
Grover Cleveland presided; the International Sunday-school Convention
held in Chicago in 1914; the meeting of the National Educational
Association in St. Louis in 1904; the Thanksgiving Peace Jubilee in
the Chicago Auditorium at the close of the war with Spain in 1898,
with President McKinley and his Cabinet in attendance; the
Commencement exercises at Harvard in 1896, when President Eliot
conferred upon him the degree of Master of Arts; the International
Conference on the Negro, held at Tuskegee in 1912, with
representatives present from Europe, Africa, the West Indies, and
South America, as well as all sections of the United States. Dartmouth
College conferred his Doctorate upon him in 1901.

At Harvard in 1896 President Eliot, with these words, conferred upon
Mr. Washington the first honorary degree ever conferred by a great
university upon an American Negro: "Teacher, wise helper of his race;
good servant of God and country." In his speech delivered at the
Alumni Dinner on the same day Mr. Washington brought this message to
Harvard: "If through me, an humble representative, seven millions of
my people in the South might be permitted to send a message to
Harvard--Harvard that offered up on death's altar young Shaw, and
Russell, and Lowell, and scores of others, that we might have a free
and united country--that message would be: 'Tell them that the
sacrifice was not in vain. Tell them that by the way of the shop, the
field, the skilled hand, habits of thrift and economy, by way of
industrial school and college, we are coming. We are crawling up,
working up, yea, bursting up. Often through oppression, unjust
discrimination, and prejudice, but through them all we are coming up,
and with proper habits, intelligence, and property, there is no power
on earth that can permanently stay our progress!'"

The next year at the great meeting in honor of the brotherhood of man
held in Music Hall, Boston, which concluded with the unveiling of the
monument of Robert Gould Shaw, Booker Washington in concluding his
address turned to the one-armed color bearer of Colonel Shaw's
regiment and said: "To you, to the scarred and scattered remnants of
the Fifty-fourth, who with empty sleeve and wanting leg have honored
this occasion with your presence--to you, your commander is not dead.
Though Boston erected no monument, and history recorded no story, in
you and the loyal race which you represent Robert Gould Shaw will have
a monument which time cannot wear away."

In his speech at the Peace Jubilee exercises after the war with Spain,
Mr. Washington said: "When you have gotten the full story of the
heroic conduct of the Negro in the Spanish-American War--heard it from
the lips of Northern soldiers and Southern soldiers, from
ex-abolitionist and ex-master--then decide within yourselves whether a
race that is thus willing to die for its country should not be given
the highest opportunity to live for its country." And again in the
same speech, after rehearsing the successes of American arms, he said:
"We have succeeded in every conflict, except the effort to conquer
ourselves in the blotting out of racial prejudices.... Until we thus
conquer ourselves, I make no empty statement when I say that we shall
have, especially in the Southern part of our country, a cancer gnawing
at the heart of the Republic that shall one day prove as dangerous as
an attack from an army without or within." Note this as the language
of a man on a great national occasion who has been accused of a
time-serving acquiescence in the injustices which his race suffers!

In his address before the National Educational Association in St.
Louis, in 1904, he made the following remarks which are typical of
points he sought to emphasize when addressing audiences of white
people: "Let me free your minds, if I can, from possible fear and
apprehension in two directions: the Negro in this country does not
seek, as a race, to exercise political supremacy over the white man,
nor is social intermingling with any race considered by the Negro to
be one of the essentials to his progress. You may not know it, but my
people are as proud of their racial identity as you are of yours, and
in the degree that they become intelligent, racial pride increases. I
was never prouder of the fact that I am classed as a Negro than I am
to-day.... I can point you to groups of my people in nearly every part
of our country that in intelligence and high and unselfish purpose of
their school and church life, and in the purity and sweetness of their
home life and social intercourse, will compare favorably with the
races of the earth. You can never lift any large section of people by
continually calling attention to their weak points. A race, like a
child in school, needs encouragement as well as chastisement."

In his address before the annual session of 1914 of the National Negro
Business League at Muskogee, Oklahoma, Mr. Washington made the
following remarks which are typical of his points of chief emphasis in
addressing his own people: "Let your success thoroughly eclipse your
shortcomings. We must give the world so much to think and talk about
that relates to our constructive work in the direction of progress
that people will forget and overlook our failures and shortcomings....
One big, definite fact in the direction of achievement and
construction will go farther in securing rights and removing
prejudice than many printed pages of defense and explanation.... Let
us in the future spend less time talking about the part of the city
that we cannot live in, and more time in making that part of the city
that we can live in beautiful and attractive."

It is characteristic of the kind of criticism to which Mr. Washington
was subjected that a certain element of the Negro press violently
denounced this comment as an indirect endorsement of the legal
segregation of Negroes. Probably the last article written by Mr.
Washington for any publication was the one published posthumously by
the _New Republic_, New York City, December 4, 1915, entitled, "My
View of Segregation Laws," in which he stated in no uncertain terms
his views on the segregation laws which were being passed in the
South. In concluding his article, he said:

"Summarizing the matter in the large, segregation is ill-advised

1. It is unjust.

2. It invites other unjust measures.

3. It will not be productive of good, because practically every
thoughtful Negro resents its injustice and doubts its sincerity. Any
race adjustment based on injustice finally defeats itself. The Civil
War is the best illustration of what results where it is attempted to
make wrong right or seem to be right.

4. It is unnecessary.

5. It is inconsistent. The Negro is segregated from his white
neighbor, but white business men are not prevented from doing business
in Negro neighborhoods.

6. There has been no case of segregation of Negroes in the United
States that has not widened the breach between the two races. Wherever
a form of segregation exists it will be found that it has been
administered in such a way as to embitter the Negro and harm more or
less the moral fibre of the white man. That the Negro does not express
this constant sense of wrong is no proof that he does not feel it.

"It seems to me that the reasons given above, if carefully considered,
should serve to prevent further passage of such segregation ordinances
as have been adopted in Norfolk, Richmond, Louisville, Baltimore, and
one or two cities in South Carolina.

"Finally, as I have said in another place, as white and black learn
daily to adjust, in a spirit of justice and fair play, these interests
which are individual and racial, and to see and feel the importance of
those fundamental interests which are common, so will both races grow
and prosper. In the long run, no individual and no race can succeed
which sets itself at war against the common good; for in the gain or
loss of one race all the rest have equal claim."

In concluding his Muskogee speech he said: "If there are those who are
inclined to be discouraged concerning racial conditions in this
country we have but to turn our minds in the direction of the
deplorable conditions in Europe, growing largely out of racial
bitterness and friction. When we contrast what has taken place there
with the peaceful manner in which black people and white people are
living together in this country, notwithstanding now and then there
are evidences of injustice and friction, which should always be
condemned, we have the greatest cause for thanksgiving. Perhaps
nowhere else in the world can be found so many white people living
side by side with so many of dark skin in so much of peace and harmony
as in the United States."

This concluding observation was particularly characteristic of him.
Somewhere, or somehow, he always turned to account all significant
events for weal or woe from the most trivial personal happenings to
the titanic world war.

Like all great leaders, Booker Washington did the bulk of his work
quietly in his own office and not on dramatic historic occasions
before great audiences. He received every day, for instance, a huge
and varied mail which required not only industry to handle, but much
judgment, patience, and tact to dispose of wisely and adequately. We
will here mention and quote from a sheaf of letters taken at random
from his files which partially illustrate the range of his interests
and the variety of the calls which were constantly made upon him.

A railroad official in Colorado asked his opinion on the question of
separate schools for white and black children apropos of a movement to
amend the State constitution so as to make possible such separate
schools. In his reply Mr. Washington said: "As a rule, colored people
in the Northern States are very much opposed to any plans for
separate schools, and I think their feelings in the matter deserve
consideration. The real objection to separate schools, from their
point of view, is that they do not like to feel that they are
compelled to go to one school rather than the other. It seems as if it
was taking away part of their freedom. This feeling is likely to be
all the stronger where the matter is made a subject of public
agitation. On the other hand, my experience is that if this matter is
left to the discretion of the school officials it usually settles
itself. As the colored people usually live pretty closely together,
there will naturally be schools in which colored students are in the
majority. In that case, the process of separation takes place
naturally and without the necessity of changing the constitution. If
you make it a constitutional question, the colored people are going to
be opposed to it. If you leave it simply an administrative question,
which it really is, the matter will very likely settle itself."

We next find a courteous reply to the letter of some poor crank who
wanted to secure his backing for a preparation which he had concocted
for taking the curl out of Negroes' hair. Then comes a letter to a man
who wants to know whether it is true that the Negro race is dying out.
To him Mr. Washington quoted the United States census figures for
1910, which indicate an increase of 11-3/10 per cent. in the Negro
population for the decade.

Next, we come upon a letter written to a man who is interested in an
effort of the Freedman's Aid Society to raise a half a million dollars
for Negro schools in the South. Since this letter so well describes
an important phase of Booker Washington's leadership we give it almost
in full. It was written in 1913 and runs thus:

"I think the most interesting work that Tuskegee has done in recent
years is its work in rural schools in the country surrounding the
Institute. During the last five or six years forty-seven school
buildings have been erected in Macon County by colored people
themselves. At the same time the school term has been lengthened in
every part of the county from five to eight months. This work has been
done under the direction of a supervising teacher working in
connection with the extension department of the Institute.

"Among other things that have been attempted to encourage the people
to improve their schools has been a model country school started in a
community called Rising Star, a few miles from the Institute. The
school at Rising Star is an example of the rural school that Tuskegee
is seeking to promote. It consists of a five-room frame house in which
the teachers--a Tuskegee graduate and his wife--not only teach, but
live. All the rooms are used by the school children. In the kitchen
they are taught to cook, in the dining-room to serve a meal, in the
bedroom to make the beds. In the garden they are taught how to raise
vegetables, poultry, pigs, and cows. They recite in the sitting-room
or on the veranda, and their lessons all deal with matters of their
own every-day life.... Instead of figuring how long it will take an
express train to reach the moon if it travelled at the rate of forty
miles an hour, the pupils figure out how much corn can be raised on
neighbor Smith's patch of land and how much farmer Jones' pig will
bring when slaughtered.

"The pupils learn neatness and cleanliness by living in a decent home
during their school hours. They carry the lesson home, and the result
is seen in cleaner and better farmhouses. The model school has become
the pattern on which the farmers and their wives are improving their

Then comes a letter from a poor woman who wants him in the course of
his travels to look up her husband who abandoned her some years
before. For purposes of identification she says: "This is the hith of
him 5-6 light eyes dark hair unwave shave and a Suprano Voice his age
58 his name Steve...." Even though Mr. Washington did not agree to
spend his spare time looking for a disloyal husband with a soprano
voice, he sent the poor woman a kind reply and suggested some means of
tracing her recreant spouse.

We come next upon a long letter written to a man who wishes to quote
for publication in a magazine Booker Washington's opinion on the
relation between crime and education. In the concluding paragraphs of
his reply Mr. Washington says: "In nine cases out of ten the crimes
which serve to unite and give an excuse for mob violence are committed
by men who are without property, without homes, and without education
except what they have picked up in the city slums, in prisons, or on
the chain gang. The South is spending too much money in giving the
Negro this kind of education that makes criminals and not enough on
the kind of schools that turn out farmers, carpenters, and
blacksmiths. Other things being equal, it is true not only in America,
in the South, but throughout the world, that there is the least crime
where there is the most education. This is true of the South and of
the Negro, just the same as it is true of every other race.
Particularly is it true that the individuals who commit crimes of
violence and crimes that are due to lack of self-control are
individuals who are, for the most part, ignorant. The decrease in
lynching in the Southern States is an index of the steady growth of
the South in wealth, in industry, in education, and in individual

Then comes a letter to an individual who desires to know what
proportion of the American Negroes can read and write now, and what
proportion could at the time of the Civil War. The reply again quotes
the 1910 census to the effect that 69.5 per cent. can now read and
write as compared with only 3 per cent. at the close of the war. The
letter also points out that the rate of illiteracy among American
Negroes is now lower than the rate for all the peoples of Russia,
Portugal, Brazil, and Venezuela, and almost as low as that of Spain.

There follows a sheaf of correspondence in which Mr. Washington agreed
to speak at the unveiling of a tablet in Auburn, New York, to the
memory of "Aunt Harriet" Tubman Davis, the black woman, squat of
stature and seamed of face, who piloted three or four hundred slaves
from the land of bondage to the land of freedom. While there he also
agreed to speak at Auburn prison in response to the special request of
some of the prisoners.

Then we find a courteous but firmly negative reply to a long-winded
bore who writes a six-page letter urging Mr. Washington to secure the
acceptance by the Negro race of a flag which he has designed as their
racial flag.

After this follows a group of letters which passed between him and the
late Edgar Gardiner Murphy, author of "The Present South," "The Basis
of Ascendency," and other important books. In one of these letters Mr.
Washington agrees, as requested, to read the proofs of "The Basis of
Ascendency," and in another he thus characteristically comments upon
Mr. Murphy's fears that a pessimistic book on the status of the Negro
written by a supposed authority (a colored man) would do wide-reaching
harm: "Of course among a certain element it will have an influence for
harm, but human nature, as I observe it, is so constructed that it
does not take kindly to a description of a failure. It is hard to get
up enthusiasm in connection with a funeral procession. No man, in my
opinion, could write a history of the Southern Confederacy that would
be read generally because it failed. I am not saying, of course, that
the Negro race is a failure. Mr. ---- writes largely from that point of
view, hence there is no rallying point for the general reader."

In reply to a Western university professor who had asked his opinion
of amalgamation as a solution of the race problem he wrote: "I have
never looked upon amalgamation as offering a solution of the so-called
race problem, and I know very few Negroes who favor it or even think
of it, for that matter. What those whom I have heard discuss the
matter do object to are laws which enable the father to escape his
responsibility, or prevent him from accepting and exercising it, when
he has children by colored women. I think this answers your question,
but since there seems to be some misunderstanding as to how colored
people feel about this subject, I might say in explanation of what I
have already said: The Negroes in America are, as you know, a mixed
race. If that is an advantage we have it; if it is a disadvantage, it
is still ours, and for the simple reason that the product of every
sort of racial mixture between the black man and any other race is
always a Negro and never a white man, Indian, or any other sort of

"The Negro in America is defined by the census as a person who is
classed as such in the community in which he or she resides. In other
words, the Negro in this country is not so much of a particular color
or particular racial stock as one who shares a particular condition.
It is the fact that they all share in this condition which creates a
cause of common sympathy and binds the members of the race together in
spite of all differences."

To an embarrassing question put by the society editor of some paper
Mr. Washington replied by merely telling a funny story the application
of which to the impertinent inquiry was obvious. In another letter he
summed up his opinion of the much-mooted question of the franchise in
these two sentences: "There is no reason why every Negro who is not
fitted to vote should not be disfranchised. At the same time, there
is no good reason why every white man who is not fitted to vote should
not also be disfranchised."

From the foregoing correspondence it will be seen that one of Booker
Washington's many rôles was to act as a kind of plenipotentiary and
interpreter between his people and the dominant race. For this part he
was peculiarly fitted by his thorough understanding of and sympathy
for each race.

Theodore Roosevelt, immediately after taking the oath of office as
President of the United States, in Buffalo after the death of
President McKinley, wrote Mr. Washington the following note:


     _Executive Mansion_


     _Buffalo, N.Y.,_
       _Sept. 14, 1901._


     I write you at once to say that to my deep regret my visit
     South must now be given up.

     When are you coming North? I must see you as soon as
     possible. I want to talk over the question of possible
     appointments in the South exactly on the lines of our last
     conversation together.

     I hope that my visit to Tuskegee is merely deferred for a
     short season.

     Faithfully yours,


     _Booker T. Washington, Esq.,_
       _Tuskegee, Alabama._

This deferred visit finally took place in 1905, not long after Colonel
Roosevelt's triumphant election to the Presidency, when he came to
Tuskegee accompanied by his secretary, William Loeb, Jr.; Federal
Civil Service Commissioner, John McIlhenny; Collector of Revenue for
the Birmingham District, J.O. Thompson; Judge Thomas G. Jones of
Montgomery, and a fellow Rough Rider by the name of Greeneway.

In response to the above note Mr. Washington went to the White House
and discussed with the President "possible future appointments in the
South" along the lines agreed upon between them in a conference which
they had had at a time when it had seemed possible that Mr. Roosevelt
might be given the Republican Presidential nomination of 1900, that
is, while Mr. Roosevelt was Governor of New York and a tentative
candidate for the nomination.

Upon his return to Tuskegee after this talk with President Roosevelt,
Mr. Washington found that the judgeship for the Southern District of
Alabama had just become vacant through the death of the incumbent,
Judge Bruce. Here was an opportunity for the President to put into
practice in striking fashion the policy they had discussed--namely, to
appoint to Federal posts in the Southern States the best men available
and to reward and recognize conspicuous merit among Southern Democrats
and Southern Negroes as well as among Southern white Republicans.
Being unable at the moment to return to Washington, he sent his
secretary with the following letter:

     _Tuskegee, Alabama,_
       _October 2, 1901._

     President Theodore Roosevelt, Washington, D.C.

     MY DEAR MR. PRESIDENT: I send you the following information
     through my secretary, Mr. Emmett J. Scott, whom you can
     trust implicitly.

     Judge Bruce, the Judge of the Middle District of Alabama,
     died yesterday. There is going to be a very hard scramble
     for his place. I saw ex-governor T.G. Jones yesterday, as I
     promised, and he is willing to accept the judgeship of the
     Middle District of Alabama. I am more convinced now than
     ever that he is the proper man for the place. He has until
     recently been president of the Alabama State Bar
     Association. He is a Gold Democrat, and is a clean, pure man
     in every respect. He stood up in the Constitutional
     Convention and elsewhere for a fair election law, opposed
     lynching, and he has been outspoken for the education of
     both races. He is head and shoulders above any of the other
     persons who I think will apply for the position.

     Yours truly,


     P.S.--I do not believe in all the South you could select a
     better man through whom to emphasize your idea of the
     character of a man to hold office than you can do through
     ex-governor Jones.


Mr. Scott described what occurred on his delivery of this letter in
the following report to his chief:

     _Washington, D.C.,_
       _October 4, 1901._

     MY DEAR MR. WASHINGTON: I called to see the President this
     morning. I found him all cordiality and brimming over with
     good will for you. That pleased me much! He had received the
     telegram and had made an appointment for me. He read your
     letter, inquired if I knew the contents, and then launched
     into a discussion of it. Wanted to know if Governor Jones
     supported Bryan in either campaign. I told him _no_. He
     wanted to know how I knew. I told him of the letter wherein
     he (Governor Jones) stated to you that he was without
     political ambition because he had opposed Bryan, etc. Well,
     he said he wanted to hear from you direct as to whether he
     had or not, and asked me to write you to find out. I am now
     awaiting that wire so as to call again on him. As soon as I
     see him again I will wire you and write you as to what he
     says. He is going to appoint Governor Jones. That was made
     apparent. While I was waiting to see him Senator Chandler
     with the Spanish Claims Commission called. They saw him
     first. I heard the talk, however, which was mostly
     felicitation. Incidentally, however, Senator Chandler said
     that the Commission was afraid it would lose one of its
     members because of the vacancy in Alabama, referring to Hon.
     W.L. Chambers, who was present and who is a member of the
     Commission. The President laughed heartily. Said the Senator
     always sprung recommendations unexpectedly, and so forth and
     so forth. He did not inquire as to any of the others--the
     applicants--seemed interested only to find out about
     Governor Jones.... There were many correspondents there at
     the door, but I told them I was passing through to Buffalo,
     but had stopped over to invite the President to include
     Tuskegee in his itinerary when he goes South again.... Will
     write again when I see the President again.

     Yours sincerely,

     (Signed) EMMETT J. SCOTT.

As soon as he had received Dr. Washington's telegram in reply, Mr.
Scott went again to the White House and wrote thus of his second call:


     _Washington, D.C.,_
       _October 5, 1901._

     MY DEAR MR. WASHINGTON: You have my telegram of to-day. I
     sent it as soon as I had seen the President. I had a
     three-hour wait to see him and it was tiresome, but I
     "camped with them." When admitted to the general reception
     room the President met me and was cordial and asked me to
     wait awhile, till he could dismiss two delegations, then he
     invited me into the office, or cabinet room, and read very
     carefully the telegram received from you last night--Friday
     night. His face was a study. He was greatly surprised to
     learn that the Governor voted for Bryan, and walked about
     considerably. At last he said, "Well, I guess I'll have to
     appoint him, but I am awfully sorry he voted for Bryan." He
     then asked me who Dr. Crum[1] is and I told him that he was
     a clean representative character, and that he was favorably
     considered by Harrison for the Charleston postmastership,
     etc. He did not know him and asked me what place was
     referred to. You had not discussed it with me, but I told
     him you most likely referred to the place made vacant by the
     death of Webster. He then called Mr. Cortelyou, Secretary,
     into the office and asked him if he knew Crum. He said he
     didn't but that he had heard of him and always favorably.
     The President then asked Cortelyou what place a man named B.
     was being considered for, and he said the place made vacant
     by Webster's death. He then turned to me and said that he
     was sorry, that he would certainly have considered the
     matter if he had had your word earlier. He asked me to tell
     you that if you wish Dr. Crum considered for any other place
     that he will be glad to have you communicate with him. I
     then asked him what I should tell you in the Governor Jones'
     matter, and he said: "Tell Mr. Washington without using my
     name that party will most likely be appointed--in fact I
     will appoint him--only don't make it that strong by wire."
     So I consider the matter closed.

     The colored brethren here are scared. They don't know what
     to expect, and the word has passed, they say, that you are
     the "Warwick" so far as they are concerned. I hope to find
     you well in Chicago.

     Sincerely yours,

     (Signed) EMMETT J. SCOTT.

[Footnote 1: This refers to a suggestion made by Mr. Washington in his
telegram recommending the appointment of Dr. W.D. Crum, a colored
physician, to a South Carolina vacancy, so that the President could
thereby announce at the same time the appointment of a first-grade
Southern white Democrat and a first-class colored man.]

This precedent-breaking appointment of a Southern Democrat by a
Republican President, made primarily on the recommendation of Booker
Washington and Grover Cleveland, was acclaimed with enthusiastic
approval by all Democrats everywhere, and in fact there was no
dissenting voice except from the officeholding Southern Republicans
who naturally resented this encroachment upon what they regarded as
their patronage rights. At first appreciation was almost universal of
the efforts of the Negro leader in helping a Republican President to
make this far-reaching change in the Federal officeholding traditions
of the South. Soon, however, some Southern newspapers began to
question the wisdom of allowing a Negro to have even an advisory voice
in political matters notwithstanding his advice had in this instance
been so acceptable to the South. This criticism grew so insistent that
Judge Jones found himself in an uncomfortable position because his
appointment had been made, in large part, on the recommendation of a
Negro. He tried to soften the situation by giving out a statement to
the effect that his endorsement by representative white men would
probably have assured his appointment even without the assistance of
Booker Washington. Later, however, the Judge expressed to Mr. Scott
privately, after listening with deep interest to the recital of all
the incidents connected with his appointment, his appreciation of what
Booker Washington had done for him.

Aside from this appointment, Booker Washington had a voice in many
others, including those of Gen. R.D. Johnson as Receiver of Public
Moneys at Birmingham, Colonel Thomas R. Roulhac as United States
District Judge, and Judge Osceola Kyle of Alabama as United States
District Attorney in the Panama Canal Zone. During the administrations
of both Presidents Roosevelt and Taft hardly an office of consequence
was conferred upon a Negro without first consulting Mr. Washington. He
did not strive through his influence with Presidents Roosevelt and
Taft to increase the number of Negro appointees, but rather to raise
the personnel of Negro officeholders. During the period when his
advice was most constantly sought at the White House, Charles W.
Anderson was appointed Collector of Internal Revenue for the Second
District of New York City; J.C. Napier of Nashville, Tenn., became
Register of the Treasury; William H. Lewis of Boston was appointed
successively Assistant United States District Attorney and Assistant
Attorney-General of the United States; Robert H. Terrell was given a
Municipal Judgeship of the District of Columbia; Whitefield McKinlay
was made Collector of the Port for the Georgetown District, District
of Columbia; Dr. W.D. Crum was appointed Collector of Customs for the
Port of Charleston, S.C.; Ralph W. Tyler, Auditor for the Navy
Department at Washington, D.C.; James A. Cobb, Special Assistant U.S.
Attorney in charge of the enforcement of the Pure Food Law for the
District of Columbia, and Charles A. Cottrell, Collector of Internal
Revenue for the District of Hawaii at Honolulu. In all these notably
excellent appointments Mr. Washington had a voice.

In 1903, in commenting on a speech of Mr. Washington's in which he had
emphasized the importance of quality rather than quantity in Negro
appointments, President Roosevelt wrote him as follows:

     MY DEAR MR. WASHINGTON: That is excellent; and you have put
     epigrammatically just what I am doing--that is, though I
     have rather reduced the quantity I have done my best to
     raise the quality of the Negro appointments. With high regard.

     Sincerely yours,




The Tuskegee Commencement exercises dramatize education. They enable
plain men and women to visualize in the concrete that vague word which
means so little to them in the abstract. More properly they dramatize
the identity between real education and actual life. On the platform
before the audience is a miniature engine to which steam has been
piped, a miniature frame house in course of construction, and a piece
of brick wall in process of erection. A young man in jumpers comes
onto the platform, starts the engine and blows the whistle, whereupon
young men and women come hurrying from all directions, and each turns
to his or her appointed task. A young carpenter completes the little
house, a young mason finishes the laying of the brick wall, a young
farmer leads forth a cow and milks her in full view of the audience, a
sturdy blacksmith shoes a horse, and after this patient, educative
animal has been shod he is turned over to a representative of the
veterinary division to have his teeth filed. At the same time on the
opposite side of the platform one of the girl students is having a
dress fitted by one of her classmates who is a dressmaker. She at
length walks proudly from the platform in her completed new gown,
while the young dressmaker looks anxiously after her to make sure that
it "hangs right behind." Other girls are doing washing and ironing
with the drudgery removed in accordance with advanced Tuskegee
methods. Still others are hard at work on hats, mats, and dresses,
while boys from the tailoring department sit crosslegged working on
suits and uniforms. In the background are arranged the finest
specimens which scientific agriculture has produced on the farm and
mechanical skill has turned out in the shops. The pumpkin, potatoes,
corn, cotton, and other agricultural products predominate, because
agriculture is the chief industry at Tuskegee just as it is among the
Negro people of the South.

This form of commencement exercise is one of Booker Washington's
contributions to education which has been widely copied by schools for
whites as well as blacks. That it appeals to his own people is
eloquently attested by the people themselves who come in ever-greater
numbers as the commencement days recur. At three o'clock in the
morning of this great day vehicles of every description, each loaded
to capacity with men, women, and children, begin to roll in in an
unbroken line which sometimes extends along the road for three miles.
Some of the teachers at times objected to turning a large area of the
Institute grounds into a hitching-post station for the horses and
mules of this great multitude, but to all such objections Mr.
Washington replied, "This place belongs to the people and not to us."
Less than a third of these eight to nine thousand people are able
to crowd into the chapel to see the actual graduation exercises, but
all can see the graduation procession as it marches through the
grounds to the chapel and all are shown through the shops and over the
farm and through the special agricultural exhibits, and even through
the offices, including that of the principal. It is significant of the
respect in which the people hold the Institute, and in which they held
Booker Washington, that in all these years there has never been on
these occasions a single instance of drunkenness or disorderly

[Illustration: Showing some of the teams of farmers attending the
Annual Tuskegee Negro Conference.]

In his annual report to the trustees for 1914 Mr. Washington said of
these commencement exercises: "One of the problems that constantly
confronts us is that of making the school of real service to these
people on this one day when they come in such large numbers. For many
of them it is the one day in the year when they go to school, and we
ought to find a way to make the day of additional value to them. I
very much hope that in the near future we shall find it possible to
erect some kind of a large pavilion which shall serve the purpose of
letting these thousands see something of our exercises and be helped
by them."

The philosophy symbolized by such graduation exercises as we have
described may best be shown by quoting Mr. Washington's own words in
an article entitled, "Industrial Education and the Public Schools,"
which was published in the _Annals of the American Academy of
Political and Social Science_ for September of the year 1913. In this
article Mr. Washington says: "If I were asked what I believe to be
the greatest advance which Negro education has made since emancipation
I should say that it has been in two directions: first, the change
which has taken place among the masses of the Negro people as to what
education really is; and, second, the change that has taken place
among the masses of the white people in the South toward Negro
education itself.

"I can perhaps make clear what I mean by a little explanation: the
Negro learned in slavery to work but he did not learn to respect
labor. On the contrary, the Negro was constantly taught, directly and
indirectly during slavery times, that labor was a curse. It was the
curse of Canaan, he was told, that condemned the black man to be for
all time the slave and servant of the white man. It was the curse of
Canaan that made him for all time 'a hewer of wood and drawer of
water.' The consequence of this teaching was that, when emancipation
came, the Negro thought freedom must, in some way, mean freedom from

"The Negro had also gained in slavery some general notions in regard
to education. He observed that the people who had education for the
most part belonged to the aristocracy, to the master class, while the
people who had little or no education were usually of the class known
as 'poor whites.' In this way education became associated in his mind
with leisure, with luxury, and freedom from the drudgery of work with
the hands....

"In order to make it possible to put Negro education on a sound and
rational basis it has been necessary to change the opinion of the
masses of the Negro people in regard to education and labor. It has
been necessary to make them see that education, which did not,
directly or indirectly, connect itself with the practical daily
interests of daily life could hardly be called education. It has been
necessary to make the masses of the Negroes see and realize the
necessity and importance of applying what they learned in school to
the common and ordinary things of life; to see that education, far
from being a means of escaping labor, is a means of raising up and
dignifying labor and thus indirectly a means of raising up and
dignifying the common and ordinary man. It has been necessary to teach
the masses of the people that the way to build up a race is to begin
at the bottom and not at the top, to lift the man furthest down, and
thus raise the whole structure of society above him. On the other
hand, it has been necessary to demonstrate to the white man in the
South that education does not 'spoil' the Negro, as it has been so
often predicted that it would. It was necessary to make him actually
see that education makes the Negro not an idler or spendthrift, but a
more industrious, thrifty, law-abiding, and useful citizen than he
otherwise would be."

The commencement exercises which we have described are one of the
numerous means evolved by Booker Washington to guide the masses of his
own people, as well as the Southern whites, to a true conception of
the value and meaning of real education for the Negro.

The correlation between the work of farm, shop, and classroom, first
applied by General Armstrong at Hampton, was developed on an even
larger scale by his one-time student, Booker Washington. The students
at Tuskegee are divided into two groups: the day students who work in
the classroom half the week and the other half on the farm and in the
shops, and the night students who work all day on the farm or in the
shops and then attend school at night. The day school students pay a
small fee in cash toward their expenses, while the night school
students not only pay no fee but by good and diligent work gradually
accumulate a credit at the school bank which, when it becomes
sufficiently large, enables them to become day school students. In
fact, the great majority of the day students have thus fought their
way in from the night school. But all students of both groups thus
receive in the course of a week a fairly even balance between theory
and practice.

[Illustration: An academic class. A problem in brick masonry. Mr.
Washington always insisted upon correlation; that is, drawing the
problem from the various shops and laboratories.]

In a corner of each of the shops, in which are carried on the forty or
more different trades, is a blackboard on which are worked out the
actual problems which arise in the course of the work. After school
hours one always finds in the shops a certain number of the teachers
from the Academic Department looking up problems for their classes for
the next day. A physics teacher may be found in the blacksmithing shop
digging up problems about the tractive strength of wires and the
expansion and contraction of metals under heat and cold. A teacher of
chemistry may be found in the kitchen of the cooking school unearthing
problems relating to the chemistry of food for her class the next
day. If, on the other hand, you go into a classroom you will find the
shop is brought into the classroom just as the classroom has been
brought into the shop. For instance, in a certain English class the
topic assigned for papers was "a model house" instead of "bravery" or
"the increase of crime in cities," or "the landing of the Pilgrims."
The boys of the class had prepared papers on the architecture and
construction of a model house, while the girls' papers were devoted to
its interior decoration and furnishing. One of the girls described a
meal for six which she had actually prepared and the six had actually
consumed. The meal cost seventy-five cents. The discussion and
criticism which followed each paper had all the zest which vitally
practical and near-at-hand questions always arouse.

When the Department of Superintendence of the National Educational
Association met in Atlanta, Ga., in 1904, many of the delegates, after
adjournment, visited the Tuskegee Institute. Among these delegates was
Prof. Paul Monroe of the Department of History and Principles of
Education of the Teachers' College of Columbia University. In
recording his impressions of his visit, Professor Monroe says: "My
interest in Tuskegee and a few similar institutions is founded on the
fact that here I find illustrated the two most marked tendencies which
are being formulated in the most advanced educational thought, but are
being worked out slowly and with great difficulty. These tendencies
are: first, the endeavor to draw the subject matter of education, or
the 'stuff' of schoolroom work, directly from the life of the pupils;
and second, to relate the outcome of education to life's activities,
occupations, and duties of the pupil in such a way that the connection
is made directly and immediately between schoolroom work and the other
activities of the person being educated. This is the ideal at
Tuskegee, and, to a much greater extent than in any other institution
I know of, the practice; so that the institution is working along not
only the lines of practical endeavor, but of the most advanced
educational thought. To such an extent is this true that Tuskegee and
Hampton are of quite as great interest to the student of education on
account of the illumination they are giving to educational theory as
they are to those interested practically in the elevation of the Negro
people and in the solution of a serious social problem. May I give
just one illustration of a concrete nature coming under my observation
while at the school, that will indicate the difference between the
work of the school and that which was typical under old conditions, or
is yet typical where the newer ideas, as so well grasped by Mr.
Washington, are not accepted? In a class in English composition two
boys, among others, had placed their written work upon the board, one
having written upon 'Honor' in the most stilted language, with various
historical references which meant nothing to himself or to his
classmates--the whole paragraph evidently being drawn from some
outside source; the other wrote upon 'My Trade--Blacksmithing'--and
told in a simple and direct way of his day's work, the nature of the
general course of training, and the use he expected to make of his
training when completed. No better contrast could be found between the
old ideas of formal language work, dominated by books and cast into
forms not understood or at least not natural to the youth, and the
newer ideas of simplicity, directness, and forcefulness in presenting
the account of one's own experience. Not only was this contrast an
illustration of the ideal of the entire education offered at Tuskegee
in opposition to that of the old, formal, 'literary' education as
imposed upon the colored race, but it gave in a nutshell a concept of
the new education. This one experience drawn from the life of the boy
and related directly to his life's duration and circumstances was
education in the truest sense; the other was not save as Mr.
Washington made it so in its failure...."

Among the delegates was also Mr. A.L. Rafter, the Assistant
Superintendent of Schools of Boston, who in speaking at Tuskegee said:
"What Tuskegee is doing for you we are going to take on home to the
North. You are doing what we are talking about." In general, these
foremost educational experts of the dominant race looked to Booker
Washington and Tuskegee for leadership instead of expecting him or his
school to follow them.

Booker Washington not only practised at Tuskegee this close relation
between school life and real life--and it is being continued now that
he is gone--but preached it whenever and wherever opportunity offered.
Some years ago, in addressing himself to those of his own students who
expected to become teachers, he said on this subject among other
things: "... colored parents depend upon seeing the results of
education in ways not true of the white parent. It is important that
the colored teacher on this account give special attention to bringing
school life into closer touch with real life. Any education is to my
mind 'high' which enables the individual to do the very best work for
the people by whom he is surrounded. Any education is 'low' which does
not make for character and effective service.

"The average teacher in the public schools is very likely to yield to
the temptation of thinking that he is educating an individual when he
is teaching him to reason out examples in arithmetic, to prove
propositions in geometry, and to recite pages of history. He conceives
this to be the end of education. Herein is the sad deficiency in many
teachers who are not able to use history, arithmetic, and geometry as
means to an end. They get the idea that the student who has mastered a
certain number of pages in a textbook is educated, forgetting that
textbooks are at best but tools, and in many cases ineffective tools,
for the development of man....

"The average parent cannot appreciate how many examples Johnny has
worked out that day, how many questions in history he has answered;
but when he says, 'Mother, I cannot go back to that school until all
the buttons are sewed on my coat,' the parent will at once become
conscious of school influence in the home. This will be the best kind
of advertisement. The button propaganda tends to make the teacher a
power in the community. A few lessons in applied chemistry will not
be amiss. Take grease spots, for example. The teacher who with tact
can teach his pupils to keep even threadbare clothes neatly brushed
and free from grease spots is extending the school influence into the
home and is adding immeasurably to the self-respect of the home."[2]

[Footnote 2: From "Putting the Most Into Life," by Booker T.
Washington. Thomas Y. Crowell & Co., Publishers.]

The idea that education is a matter of personal habits of cleanliness,
industry, integrity, and right conduct while of course not original
with Booker Washington was perhaps further developed and more
effectively emphasized by him than by any other American educator.
Just as Matthew Arnold insisted that religion was a matter of conduct
rather than forms and dogmas so Booker Washington held that education
is a matter of character and not forms. He concluded one of his Sunday
night talks to his students with these words: "I want every Tuskegee
student as he finds his place in the surging industrial life about him
to give heed to the things which are 'honest and just and pure and of
good report,' for these things make for character, which is the only
thing worth fighting for...." In another of these talks he said: "A
student should not be satisfied with himself until he has grown to the
point where, when simply sweeping a room, he can go into the corners
and crevices and remove the hidden trash which, although it should be
left, would not be seen. It is not very hard to find people who will
thoroughly clean a room which is going to be occupied, or wash a dish
which is to be handled by strangers; but it is hard to find a person
who will do a thing right when the eyes of the world are not likely to
look upon what has been done. The cleaning of rooms and the washing of
dishes have much to do with forming characters."[3]

[Footnote 3: "Sowing and Reaping," by Booker T. Washington. L.C. Page
& Co., Boston, Publishers.]

This recalls Booker Washington's own experience when as a ragged and
penniless youth he applied for admission to Hampton and was given a
room to sweep by way of an entrance examination. Indeed, one of Booker
Washington's greatest sources of strength as a teacher lay in the fact
that his own life not only illustrated the truth of his assertions,
but illustrated it in a striking and dramatic manner. His life was, in
fact, an epitome of the hardships, struggles, and triumphs of the
successful members of his race from the days of slavery to the present
time. A great believer in the power of example he lived a life which
gave him that power in its highest degree. Because of his inherent
modesty and good taste he never referred to himself or his
achievements as examples to be emulated, and this merely further
enhanced their power.

In concluding another Sunday night talk he said: "As a race we are
inclined, I fear, to make too much of the day of judgment. We have the
idea that in some far-off period there is going to be a great and
final day of judgment, when every individual will be called up, and
all his bad deeds will be read out before him and all his good deeds
made known. I believe that every day is a day of judgment, that we
reap our rewards daily, and that whenever we sin we are punished by
mental and physical anxiety and by a weakened character that separates
us from God. Every day is, I take it, a day of judgment, and as we
learn God's laws and grow into His likeness we shall find our reward
in this world in a life of usefulness and honor. To do this is to have
found the kingdom of God, which is the kingdom of character and
righteousness and peace."[4]

[Footnote 4: From "Putting the Most Into life," by Booker T.
Washington. Thomas Y. Crowell & Co., Publishers.]

To quote once more from these Sunday night talks, in another he said:
"There is, then, opportunity for the colored people to enrich the
material life of their adopted country by doing what their hands find
to do, minor duties though they be, so well that nobody of any race
can do them better. This is the aim that the Tuskegee student should
keep steadily before him. If he remembers that all service, however
lowly, is true service, an important step will have been taken in the
solution of what we term 'the race problem.'"

As is shown by these quotations Booker Washington used these Sunday
night talks to crystalize, interpret, and summarize the meaning and
significance of the kind of education which Tuskegee gives. He, the
supreme head of the institution, reserved to himself this supremely
important task. The heads of the manifold trades are naturally and
properly concerned primarily with turning raw boys and girls into good
workmen and workwomen. The academic teachers in the school are
similarly interested in helping them as students to secure a mastery
of their several subjects. The military commandants are concerned with
their ability to drill, march, carry themselves properly, and take
proper care of their persons and rooms. The physician is interested in
their physical health and the chaplain in their religious training.
Important as are all these phases of Tuskegee's training and closely
as he watched each Mr. Washington realized that they might all be well
done and yet Tuskegee fail in its supreme purpose: namely, the making
of manly men and womanly women out of raw boys and girls. As he said
in one of the passages quoted, "character is the only thing worth
fighting for." Now, while the forming of character is the aim, and in
some appreciable degree the achievement, of every worth-while
educational institution, it is to a peculiar degree the aim and the
achievement of Tuskegee. The ten million Negroes in the United States
need trained leaders of their own race more than they need anything
else. Whatever else they should or should not have these leaders must
have character. Since Tuskegee is the largest of the educational
institutions for Negroes, with the man at its head who was commonly
recognized as the leader of leaders in his race, naturally the
heaviest responsibility in the training of these leaders fell, and
will continue to fall, upon Tuskegee. Consequently the task at
Tuskegee is not so much to educate so many thousands of young men and
women as to train as many leaders for the Negro people as can possibly
be done and done well within a given space of time. These Tuskegee
graduates lead by the power of example and not by agitation. One runs
a farm and achieves so much more success than his neighbors, through
his better methods, that they gradually adopt these methods and with
his help apply them to their own conditions. Another teaches a country
school and does it so much better than the average country school
teacher that his or her school comes to be regarded as a model to be
emulated by the other schools of the locality. When a Tuskegee girl
marries and settles in a community she keeps her house so much cleaner
and in every way more attractive than the rank and file of her
neighbors that gradually her house and her methods of housekeeping
become the standard for the neighborhood. There is, however, nothing
of the "holier than thou" or the complaisant about the true Tuskegee
graduate and neither is there anything monopolistic. They have had the
idea of service thoroughly drilled into their consciousness--the idea
that their advantages of education are, as it were, a trust which they
are to administer for the benefit of those who have not had such

Now such leaders as these must not only be provided if the so-called
race problem is to be solved, but they must be provided speedily. In
every community in which the black people are ignorant and vicious and
without trained leaders among themselves they are likely at any time
to come into conflict with the dominant race, and every such conflict
engenders bitterness on both sides and makes just so much more
difficult the final solution of the race problem. This is why Booker
Washington labored so incessantly to increase the quantity of
Tuskegee's output as well as to maintain the quality. He brought
Tuskegee to the point where it reached through all its courses
including its summer courses, short courses, and extension courses,
more than 4,000 people in a single year, not counting the well-nigh
innumerable hosts he counseled with on his State educational tours. In
short, Booker Washington's task at Tuskegee was not only to turn out
good leaders for his people, but to turn them out wholesale and as
fast as possible. He was, as it were, running a race with the powers
of ignorance, poverty, and vice. This in part accounted for the sense
of terrific pressure which one felt at Tuskegee, particularly when he
was present and personally driving forward his great educational
machine. This also may have accounted for the seeming lack of finesse
in small matters which occasionally annoyed critical visitors who did
not understand that the great institution was racing under the spur of
its indomitable master, and that just as in any race all but
essentials must be thrown aside.

Long before the University of Wisconsin had, through its extension
courses, extended its opportunities in greater or less degree to the
citizens of the entire State, Booker Washington, through similar
means, had extended the advantages of Tuskegee throughout Macon County
in particular and the State of Alabama and neighboring States in

The extension work of Tuskegee began in a small way over twenty years
ago. It preceded even the work of the demonstration agents of the
United States Department of Agriculture. There was first only one man
who in his spare time went out among the farming people and tried to
arouse enthusiasm for better methods of farming, better schools, and
better homes. He was followed by a committee of three members of the
Tuskegee faculty, which committee still directs the work. One of the
first efforts of this committee was to get the farmers to adopt deep
plowing. There was not a two-horse plow to be found. There was a
strong prejudice against deep plowing which was thus expressed by a
Negro preacher farmer whom one of the committee tried to persuade: "We
don't want deep plowing. You're fixin' for us to have no soil. If we
plow deep it will all wash away and in a year or two we will have to
clear new ground." Not long after this a member of the committee with
a two-horse plow was practising what he had been preaching when a
white planter who was passing stopped and said: "See here, its none of
my business of course, but you're new here and I don't want to see you
fail. But if you plow your land deep like that you'll ruin it sure. I
know. I've been here."

After a time, however, the committee persuaded a few colored farmers
to try deep plowing on a small scale as an experiment. One of the
first of these was a poor man who had had the hardest kind of a
struggle scraping a scant existence out of the soil for himself and
his large family. He was desperate and agreed to try the new method.
He got results the first year, moved on to better land and followed
instructions. In a few years he bought 500 acres of land, gave each of
his four sons 100 acres, and kept 100 acres for himself. Since then
father and sons alike have been prosperous and contented and have
added to their holdings.

In short, these Negro farmers were no more eager to be reformed and
improved in their methods than are any normal people. There is a
shallow popular sentiment that unless people are eager for
enlightenment and gratefully receive what is offered them they should
be left unenlightened. Booker Washington never shared this sentiment.
His agent reported that in response to their appeals for the raising
of a better grade of cattle, hogs, and fowl the farmers replied that
the stock they had was good enough. One of their favorite comments
was, "When you eat an egg what difference does it make to you whether
that egg was laid by a full-blooded fowl or a mongrel?" Instead of
being discouraged or disgusted by this attitude on the part of the
people he merely regarded it as what was to be expected and set about
devising means to overcome it. As always he placed his chief reliance
upon the persuasive eloquence of the concrete. He decided to send
blooded stock and properly raised products around among the farmers so
that they might compare them with their inferior stock and products
and see the difference with their own eyes. This plan was later
carried out through the Jesup Wagon contributed by the late Morris K.
Jesup of New York. This wagon was a peripatetic farmers' school. It
took a concentrated essence of Tuskegees' agricultural department to
the farmers who could not or would not come to Tuskegee.

The wagon was drawn by a well-bred and well-fed mule. A good breed of
cow was tied behind. Several chickens of good breeds, well-developed
ears of corn, stalks of cotton, bundles of oats and seeds, and garden
products, which ought at the time to be growing in the locality,
together with a proper plow, for deep plowing, were loaded upon the
wagon. The driver would pull up before a farmhouse, deliver his
message, and point out the strong points of his wagonload and would
finally request a strip of ground for cultivation. This request
granted he would harness the mule to the plow, break the ground deep,
make his rows, plant his seeds, and move on to the next locality. With
a carefully planned follow-up system he would return to each such plot
for cultivation and harvest, and, most important of all, to
demonstrate the truths he had sought to impress upon the people by
word of mouth. Where the first driver sent out was a general farmer,
the second would be, let us say, a dairyman, the third a truck
gardener, and finally a poultry raiser would go; usually a woman,
since in the South women, for the most part, handle this phase of
farming. These agents also distribute pamphlets prepared by the
Agricultural Research Department of Tuskegee on such subjects as
school gardening, twenty-one ways to cook cowpeas, improvement of
rural schools, how to fight insect pests, cotton growing, etc. The
constant emphasis upon practice by no means entails any neglect of

Besides this work there is each January for two weeks at Tuskegee the
regular Farmers' Short Course. Many of the country schools adjourn for
this period so that both teachers and pupils may attend. In this
course not only teachers and pupils, but fathers and mothers, sons
and daughters sit side by side in the classrooms receiving instruction
in stock raising, canning, poultry raising, and farming in all its
branches. There are special courses for the women and girls in the
care of children and in housekeeping. The following breezy
announcement is taken from the prospectus of this course for the year

     "_A creation of the farmer, by the farmers and for the

     "It meets the crying needs of thousands of our boys and
     girls, fathers and mothers.

     "_It's free to all--no examination nor entrance fee is

     "It started 7 years ago with 11 students; the second year we
     had 17, the third year we had 70, the fourth year we had
     490, and last year we had nearly 2,000. It is the only thing
     of its kind for the betterment of the colored farmers. It
     lasts for only 12 days. It comes at a time when you would be
     celebrating Christmas.[5] In previous years the farmers have
     walked from 3 to 6 miles to attend; many have come on
     horseback, in wagons, and in buggies. You who live so that
     you cannot come in daily can secure board near the school
     for $2.50 per week. We expect 2,000 to 2,500 to enter this

[Footnote 5: There is a custom among the colored people, inherited
from the days of slavery, which is fortunately now drying out, to
celebrate Christmas for a period of a week or ten days by stopping
work and giving themselves over to a round of sprees.]

And then as a further stimulus to attend there comes:

     "_Prizes will be given as follows:_

     "A prize of $5 will be given to the person who makes the
     greatest progress on all subjects taught.

     "A prize of $2 will be given to the person who is the best
     judge of livestock.

     "A prize of $1 will be given to the person who shows the
     best knowledge of the use and application of manures and
     fertilizers. And so on through a further list of one-dollar
     prizes for all the major activities of the Course."

It will be noted that there is nothing stilted or academic about this

Immediately following this Farmers' Short Course comes the Annual
Farmers' Conference which holds its session in January of each year.
To enforce the lessons in canning, stock raising, gardening, and all
the other branches of farming, exhibits of the best products in each
activity are displayed before the audience of farmers and their
families, who number in all about 2,000. These exhibits are made and
explained by the farmers themselves. The man, woman, or child who has
produced the exhibit comes to the platform and explains in his or her
own way just how it was done. In these explanations much human nature
is thrown in. An amazingly energetic and capable woman had explained
at one of these gatherings how she had paid off the mortgage on their
farm by the proceeds from her eggs, her kitchen garden, and her
preserving in her spare moments when she was not helping her husband
in the cotton field, washing and dressing her six children, or
cooking, mending, washing, and scrubbing for the household.

In conclusion she said:

"Now my ole man he's an' old-fashion farmer an' he don' kere fur dese
modern notions, an' so I don't git no help from him, an' that makes
it hard for me 'cause it ain't nat'ral for der woman to lead. If I
could only git him to move I'd be happier jest ter foller him." While
these explanations are going on the farmers in the audience are
naturally saying to themselves over and over again, "I could do that!"
or "Why couldn't I do that?"

One of Mr. Washington's chief aims was to increase the wants of his
people and at the same time increase their ability to satisfy them. In
other words, he believed in fermenting in their minds what might be
termed an effective discontent with their circumstances. With this
purpose in view he addressed to them at these conferences such
questions as the following:

"What kind of house do you live in?"

"Do you own that house?"

"What kind of schoolhouse have you?"

"Do you send your children to school regularly?"

"How many months does your school run?"

"Do you keep your teacher in the community?"

"What kind of church have you?"

"Where does your pastor live?"

"Are your church, school, and home fences whitewashed?"

The farmers who were asked these questions would make an inward
resolve that they would do what they could to put themselves in a
position to answer the same questions more satisfactorily another

Another feature of the work of Tuskegee beyond its own borders is that
of the Rural School Extension Department. Mr. Julius Rosenwald of
Chicago, one of the trustees of Tuskegee, has offered, through this
department, during a stated period of time, to add $300 to every $300
the Negroes in rural communities of the South raise for the building
of a new and modern schoolhouse. Under this plan ninety-two modern
rural school buildings have already been constructed. At the close of
the time set Mr. Rosenwald will probably renew his offer for a further
period. The social by-products of this campaign, in teaching the
Negroes of these communities how to disregard their denominational and
other feuds in working together for a high civic purpose of common
advantage to all, and the friendly interest in Negro education
awakened among their white neighbors, have been almost if not quite as
important as the new schools themselves.

There is also at Tuskegee a summer school for teachers in which last
year were registered 437 teachers from fifteen Southern and several
other States. Most of these teachers elect such practical subjects as
canning, basket-making, broom-making, shuck and pine needlework or
some form of manual training, as well as the teacher-training courses.
One of these students, who was the supervisor of the Negro schools of
an entire county, when she returned from her summer school work
proceeded to vivify her dead schools by introducing the making of
wash-boards, trash baskets, baskets made of weeping-willow, and pine
needle work in its various forms. The registration soared at once, the
indifferent Negro parents became interested, and before long the
parents of white children complained to the county superintendent
that the colored children were being taught more than their children.

There is at the present time being developed at Tuskegee a unique
experiment in the nature of what might be called a post-graduate
school in real life for the graduates of the agricultural department.
This consists in providing such graduates, who have no property of
their own, with a forty-acre farm, on an 1,800-acre tract about nine
miles from Tuskegee, known as Baldwin Farms, after the late Wm. H.
Baldwin, Jr., who was one of the ablest and most devoted supporters
and advisers of Booker Washington and Tuskegee. The land is held by
the Tuskegee Farm and Improvement Company which is conducted on a
business and not a charitable basis. The company sells the farms at an
average price of $15 an acre, and purchasers who move directly on to
the land are given ten years in which to pay for it, with the first
payment at the end of the first year. If there is no house on the land
the company will put up a $300 house so planned as to permit the
addition of rooms and improvements as rapidly as the purchaser is able
to pay for them; the cost to be added to the initial cost of the land.
When the graduate lacks the money and equipment necessary to plant,
raise, and harvest crops, for this, too, the company will advance a
reasonable sum, taking as security a mortgage on crops and equipment
until the loan has been paid off. This mortgage bears interest at 8
per cent. while the interest on the mortgage on the land is not more
than 6 per cent. Through coöperative effort within this colony it is
proposed to develop such organizations as coöperative dairy, fruit
growing, poultry, and livestock associations and thus make it possible
for the members of the colony to make not only a comfortable living
but to lay by something. They will, of course, have also the great
advantage of the advice and guidance of the experts of the Institute.
Formerly the penniless Negro youth, who graduated even most creditably
from the agricultural department of Tuskegee, had before him nothing
better than a greater or less number of years of monotonous drudgery
as a mere farm or plantation laborer. Now, he may at once take up his
own farm at Baldwin and begin immediately to apply all he has learned
in carving out his own fortune and future. Thus did Booker Washington
plan to carry the benefits of classroom instruction directly into the
actual life problems of these graduates as well as to bring the
problems of actual life into the classroom.

However much Mr. Washington may have seemed to eliminate
non-essentials in the pressure and haste of his wholesale educational
task he never neglected essentials, but among essentials he included
matters which might on the surface appear to be small and trifling.
For instance, he insisted upon good table manners, and no boy or girl
could spend any considerable time at Tuskegee without acquiring such
manners. Instead of a trivial detail he regarded good table manners as
an essential to self-respect and hence to the development of
character. In short, he was engaged not so much in conducting a school
as educating a race.



Booker Washington was occasionally accused both by agitators in his
own race and by a certain type of Northern white men who pose as the
special champions of the "downtrodden" black man as encouraging a
policy of submission to injustice on the part of his people. He was,
for example, charged with tame acquiescence in the practical
disfranchisement of the Negro in a number of the Southern States. As a
matter of fact, when these disfranchising measures were under
consideration and before they were enacted, he in each case earnestly
pleaded with the legislators that whatever restrictions in the use of
the ballot they put upon the statute books should be applied with
absolute impartiality to both races. This he urged in fairness to the
white man as well as the black man.

In an article entitled, "Is the Negro Having a Fair Chance?" published
in the _Century Magazine_ five years ago, Booker Washington said in
illustrating the evil consequences of discrimination in the
application of ballot regulations: "In a certain county of Virginia,
where the county board had charge of registering those who were to be
voters, a colored man, a graduate of Harvard University, who had long
been a resident of the county, a quiet, unassuming man, went before
the board to register. He was refused on the ground that he was not
intelligent enough to vote. Before this colored man left the room a
white man came in who was so intoxicated that he could scarcely tell
where he lived. This white man was registered, and by a board of
intelligent white men who had taken an oath to deal justly in
administering the law.

"Will any one say that there is wisdom or statesmanship in such a
policy as that? In my opinion it is a fatal mistake to teach the young
black man and the young white man that the dominance of the white race
in the South rests upon any other basis than absolute justice to the
weaker man. It is a mistake to cultivate in the mind of any individual
or group of individuals the feeling and belief that their happiness
rests upon the misery of some one else, or that their intelligence is
measured by the ignorance of some one else; or their wealth by the
poverty of some one else. I do not advocate that the Negro make
politics or the holding of office an important thing in his life. I do
urge, in the interest of fair play for everybody, that a Negro who
prepares himself in property, in intelligence, and in character to
cast a ballot, and desires to do so, should have the opportunity."

While Booker Washington did not believe that political activities
should play an important part among the Negroes as a whole he did
believe that the exceptional Negro who was particularly qualified for
holding public office should be given the opportunity just as he
believed in the higher academic education for the relatively small
minority capable of profiting by such an education.

In concluding a letter in which he asks Booker Washington to recommend
a member of his race for a Federal office in Vicksburg, Miss.,
President Roosevelt said: "The question of the political importance of
the colored man is really of no consequence. I do not care to consider
it, and you must not consider it. Give me the very best colored man
that you know of for the place, upon whose integrity and capacity we
can surely rely."

The man, T.V. McAlister, whom Mr. Washington "gave" the President for
this office was of such character and reputation that the white
citizens of Vicksburg actually welcomed his appointment. Certainly
neither Vicksburg nor any other portion of Mississippi can be accused
of over-enthusiasm for conferring civil and political privileges upon

Booker Washington's habit of never losing an opportunity to advance
constructively the interests of his people is well illustrated by the
following letter to President Roosevelt:


     _March 20, 1904._

     MY DEAR MR. PRESIDENT: It has occurred to me that there are
     a number of ways in which the colored people of the United
     States' could be of service in digging the Panama Canal,
     and personally I should be glad to do anything in my power
     in getting them interested if deemed practicable.

     First: I think they can stand the climate better or as well
     as any other people from the United States.

     Second: I have thought that a reasonably satisfactory number
     of them might be useful as common, or skilled, laborers.

     Third: That in the Health Department our well-trained nurses
     and physicians might be found helpful.

     Fourth: If the United States should assume any
     responsibility as to education, that many efficient colored
     teachers from our industrial schools, and colleges, might
     prove of great benefit. And, then, besides the presence of
     these educated persons would, in my opinion, both by
     character and example, aid in influencing the morality of
     the darker-skinned people to be employed at the Isthmus. I
     believe that these educated colored people could get closer
     to the masses than white men.

     Yours truly,


     _To President Theodore Roosevelt, Washington, D.C._

Nothing came of this suggestion except an acknowledgment and an
assurance that the matter would be considered. About two years ago,
however, when Doctor Washington and Surgeon-General Gorgas met on a
train the Surgeon-General said to Mr. Washington: "The biggest man at
the canal was the Negro," and he added that when they came to the
dedication of the canal at its formal opening some Negro should have a
place on the program.

In recent years a certain section of the Republicans in the far
Southern States have tried to free themselves of the reputation of
being "nigger lovers" by vying with their Democratic rivals in seeking
to deprive Negroes of civic and political rights. Republicans of this
particular stripe are known colloquially as the "Lily Whites." In this
connection the following correspondence is of interest.



     _White House,_
       _Washington, March 21, 1904._

     DEAR MR. WASHINGTON: By direction of the President I send
     you herewith for your private information a copy of letter
     from the President to Mr. ----, dated February 24, 1904.
     Please return it to me when you have read it.

     Yours very truly,

     WM. LOEB, JR.,
     Secretary to the President.

     _Principal Booker T. Washington, Tuskegee Normal and
     Industrial Institute, Tuskegee, Alabama._

This was the letter enclosed:



     _White House,_
     _Washington, February 24, 1904._

     MY DEAR MR. ----: I take it for granted that there is no
     intention of making the Louisiana delegation all white. I
     think it would be a mistake for my friends to take any such
     attitude in any state where there is a considerable Negro
     population. I think it is a great mistake from the
     standpoint of the whites; and in an organization composed of
     men whom I have especially favored it would put me in a
     false light. As you know, I feel as strongly as any one can
     that there must be nothing like "Negro domination." On the
     other hand, I feel equally strongly that the Republicans
     must consistently favor those comparatively few colored
     people who by character and intelligence show themselves
     entitled to such favor. To put a premium upon the possession
     of such qualities among the blacks is not only to benefit
     them, but to benefit the whites among whom they live. I very
     earnestly hope that the Louisiana Republicans whom I have so
     consistently favored will not by any action of theirs tend
     to put me in a false position in such a matter as this. With
     your entire approval, I have appointed one or two colored
     men entitled by character and standing to go to the National

     Sincerely yours,


In the year 1898 the success of the suffrage amendments in South
Carolina and Mississippi in excluding from the franchise more than
nine-tenths of their Negro inhabitants inspired an agitation in
Louisiana to cut off the Negro vote by similar means, and this
agitation came to a head in the Constitutional Convention of that
year. Mr. Washington, assisted by T. Thomas Fortune, the well-known
Negro editor, and Mr. Scott, his secretary, prepared an open letter
addressed to this convention which was taken to the convention by Mr.
Scott and placed in the hands of the suffrage committee as well as the
editors of the New Orleans _Times-Democrat_ and the _Picayune_, the
leading daily papers of the State. Extracts from the letter were sent
out by the local representative of the Associated Press and widely
published throughout the country. These New Orleans editors expressed
to Mr. Scott their approval of the letter and their substantial
agreement with its main features, and promised to publish it in full,
which they not only did, but accompanied it by editorial reviews. This
letter stated in part:

"The Negro agrees with you that it is necessary to the salvation of
the South that restriction be put upon the ballot.... With the
sincerest sympathy with you in your efforts to find a way out of the
difficulty, I want to suggest that no State in the South can make a
law that will provide an opportunity or temptation for an ignorant
white man to vote and withhold the same opportunity from an ignorant
colored man, without injuring both men.... Any law controlling the
ballot, that is not absolutely just and fair to both races, will work
more permanent injury to the whites than to the blacks.

"The Negro does not object to an educational or property test, but let
the law be so clear that no one clothed with state authority will be
tempted to perjure and degrade himself by putting one interpretation
upon it for the white man and another for the black man. Study the
history of the South, and you will find that where there has been the
most dishonesty in the matter of voting, there you will find to-day
the lowest moral condition of both races. First, there was the
temptation to act wrongly with the Negro's ballot. From this it was an
easy step to dishonesty with the white man's ballot, to the carrying
of concealed weapons, to the murder of a Negro, and then to the murder
of a white man and then to lynching. I entreat you not to pass such a
law as will prove an eternal millstone about the neck of your

Later in the same appeal he said: "I beg of you, further, that in the
degree that you close the ballot-box against the ignorant, that you
open the schoolhouse.... Let the very best educational opportunities
be provided for both races: and add to this the enactment of an
election law that shall be incapable of unjust discrimination, at the
same time providing that in proportion as the ignorant secure
education, property, and character, they will be given the right of
citizenship. Any other course will take from one half your citizens
interest in the State, and hope and ambition to become intelligent
producers and taxpayers--to become useful and virtuous citizens. Any
other course will tie the white citizens of Louisiana to a body of

The New Orleans _Times-Democrat_, in its editorial accompanying the
publication of this letter, said: "We have seen the corrupting
influence in our politics and our elections of making fraud an element
of our suffrage system. We are certainly not going to get away from
fraud by encouraging it, or making it a part of the suffrage system we
place in our new constitution." The same editorial further states that
impartiality in the use of the ballot can be given Negro and white man
not only "with the utmost safety," but "it would have a beneficial
effect upon the politics of the State." In fact, the press of both
North and South, both of the whites and the blacks, published this
letter with practically unanimous editorial endorsement, but in spite
of all this the leaders of the convention remained obdurate, the
immediate object was lost, and Louisiana followed the example of
Mississippi and South Carolina. No one realized, however, better than
Booker Washington that the effort was by no means in vain. Owing to
the general awakening of intelligent public opinion the convention
leaders were forced into the position of driving through the
discriminatory amendment not only in the face of the condemnation of
the better element throughout the country but even with the
disapproval of the better and leading citizens of their own State.

Shortly afterward members of the Georgia Legislature, seeking
political preferment for themselves through the familiar means of
anti-Negro agitation, introduced a bill which aimed to discriminate
against the Negroes of Georgia by legislative enactment just as the
Negroes of Louisiana had been discriminated against by a
constitutional amendment. This time Mr. Washington went personally to
Atlanta and appealed directly to a number of the members of the
Legislature and to the editors of the leading papers in opposition to
this bill. In an interview published in the Atlanta _Constitution_ at
the time he said:

"I cannot think that there is any large number of white people in the
South who are so ignorant or so poor that they cannot get education
and property enough to enable them to stand the test by the side of
the Negro in these respects. I do not believe that these white people
want it continually advertised to the world that some special law must
be passed by which they will seem to be given an unfair advantage over
the Negro by reason of their ignorance or their poverty. It is unfair
to blame the Negro for not preparing himself for citizenship by
acquiring intelligence, and then when he does get education and
property, to pass a law that can be so operated as to prevent him from
being a citizen, even though he may be a large taxpayer. The Southern
white people have reached the point where they can afford to be just
and generous; where there will be nothing to hide and nothing to
explain. It is an easy matter, requiring little thought, generosity or
statesmanship to push a weak man down when he is struggling to get up.
Any one can do that. Greatness, generosity, statesmanship are shown in
stimulating, encouraging every individual in the body politic to make
of himself the most useful, intelligent, and patriotic citizen
possible. Take from the Negro all incentive to make himself and his
children useful property-holding citizens, and can any one blame him
for becoming a beast capable of committing any crime?"

This time the immediate object was attained. The Atlanta
_Constitution_ and other leading Georgia papers indorsed Booker
Washington's appeal and the Legislature voted down its anti-Negro
members. Be it said to the credit of the Georgia Legislature that it
has resisted several similar attempts to discriminate against the
Negro citizens of the State, and it was not till 1908, ten years after
the Louisiana law was passed, that Georgia finally passed a law
disfranchising Negro voters.

Booker Washington has been accused of not protesting against the
lynching of Negroes. In the article published in the _Century
Magazine_ in 1912, from which we have previously quoted, he said on
this subject: "When he was Governor of Alabama, I heard Governor Jelks
say in a public speech that he knew of five cases during his
administration of innocent colored people having been lynched. If that
many innocent people were known to the governor to have been lynched,
it is safe to say that there were other innocent persons lynched whom
the governor did not know about. What is true of Alabama in this
respect is true of other states. In short, it is safe to say that a
large proportion of the colored persons lynched are innocent.... Not a
few cases have occurred where white people have blackened their faces
and committed a crime, knowing that some Negro would be suspected and
mobbed for it. In other cases it is known that where Negroes have
committed crimes, innocent men have been lynched and the guilty ones
have escaped and gone on committing more crimes.

"Within the last twelve months there have been seventy-one cases of
lynching, nearly all of colored people. Only seventeen were charged
with the crime of rape. Perhaps they are wrong to do so, but colored
people do not feel that innocence offers them security against
lynching. They do feel, however, that the lynching habit tends to give
greater security to the criminal, white or black."

Mr. Washington often pointed out how the lynching of blacks leads
inevitably to the lynching of whites and how the lynching of guilty
persons of either race inevitably leads to the lynching of innocent
persons of both races.

Let it not be supposed that Booker Washington confined his
condemnation of lynching to the comparatively safe cover of the pages
of an eminently respectable Northern magazine. Some years ago when he
was on a speaking trip in the State of Florida two depraved Negroes in
Jacksonville committed an atrocious murder. The crime aroused such
intense race feeling that Mr. Washington's friends foresaw the
likelihood of a lynching and, fearing for his safety, urged him to
cancel his engagements in Jacksonville, where he was due to speak
before white as well as black audiences within a few days. This he
refused to do and insisted that because there was special racial
friction it was especially necessary that he should keep his
engagements in the city. While he was driving to the hall where he was
to address a white audience the automobile of one of his Negro escorts
was stopped by a crowd of excited white men who angrily demanded that
Booker Washington be handed over to them. When they found he was not
in the car they allowed it to pass on without molesting the Negro
occupant, who enjoyed to an unusual degree the confidence and respect
of both races in the city. What they would have done had they found
Booker Washington one may only conjecture. At about the same time the
Negro murderers were captured. The howls of the infuriated mob on its
way to the jail to lynch the accused murderers could be heard in the
distance from the hall where Mr. Washington spoke. Without referring
in any way to the event which was taking place at the time Mr.
Washington, to the alarm of his friends, launched into a fervid
denunciation of lynching and ended with an earnest and eloquent appeal
for better feeling between the races. Instead of his words breaking up
the meeting in a storm of anger and rioting, this audience composed of
Southern whites and colored people vigorously applauded his
sentiments. Undoubtedly they were applauding not so much the views
expressed as the courage shown in expressing them at that place and
under those circumstances.

A somewhat similar experience occurred on a recent speaking tour which
he and a party were making through the State of Louisiana. He was
accompanied by a company of Negro leaders, including Major Moton of
Hampton, who has since become his successor as Principal of Tuskegee
Institute. They were in a portion of the State notorious for its
lynchings of Negroes. No one who has ever seen Major Moton, or knows
anything about him, would think of accusing him of timidity or
cowardice. But when they went before a white audience in this
particular district he urged Mr. Washington as a matter of common
prudence to "soft pedal" what he had to say about lynching. Just as in
Jacksonville Mr. Washington did just the opposite, and made his
denunciation particularly emphatic, and just as in Jacksonville there
was the same applause and apparent approval of his views.

Booker Washington also protested that in the matter of public
education his people are not given a square deal in parts of the
South, particularly in the country districts. He continually
emphasized the relation between education and crime. Other things
being equal the more and the better the education provided the less
the number and seriousness of the crimes committed. Also he pointed
out that the neglect of Negro school facilities injures the white
citizens almost if not quite as much as the Negroes themselves. And
conversely that good school facilities for the colored children
benefit the whites almost as much as the Negroes. He also insisted
that quite aside from all moral and ethical considerations Negro
education pays in dollars and cents. As illustrating the relation
between Negro education and crime or rather lack of Negro education
and crime he related this incident in an article entitled, "Black and
White in the South" published in the _Outlook_ of March 14, 1914: "A
few weeks ago three of the most prominent white men in Mississippi
were shot and killed by two colored boys. Investigation brought to
light that the two boys were rough and crude, that they had never been
to school, hence that they were densely ignorant. While no one had
taught these boys the use of books, some one had taught them, as mere
children, the use of cocaine and whiskey. In a mad fit, when their
minds and bodies were filled with cheap whiskey and cocaine, these two
ignorant boys created a 'reign of murder,' in the course of which
three white men, four colored men, and one colored woman met death. As
soon as the shooting was over a crazed mob shot the two boys full of
bullet-holes and then burned their bodies in the public streets.

"Now this is the kind of thing, more or less varied in form, that
takes place too often in our country. Why? The answer is simple: it is
dense ignorance on the part of the Negro and indifference arising out
of a lack of knowledge of conditions on the part of the white people."

He then pointed out that the last enumeration in Mississippi, where
this crime was committed, indicated that 64 per cent. of the colored
children had had no schooling during the past year. That in Charleston
County, South Carolina, another backward State in Negro education,
there was expended on the public education of each white child $20.2;
for the colored child $3.12; in Abbeville County $11.17 for the white,
69 cents for the colored child. This 69 cents per capita expense was
incurred by maintaining a one-room school for two and one-half
months, with a teacher paid at the rate of $15 a month. In another
county the Negro school was in session but one month out of the
twelve. Throughout the State, outside the cities and large towns, the
school term for the colored children is from two to four months. Thus
200,000 colored children in South Carolina are given only three or
four months of schooling a year. "Under these conditions it would
require twenty-eight years for a child to complete the eight grades of
the public school.... But South Carolina is by no means the only State
that has these breeding spots for ignorance, crime, and filth which
the nation will sooner or later have to reckon with."

In the article in the _Century Magazine_ from which quotations have
already been made Mr. Washington cites this statement made by W.N.
Sheats, former Superintendent of Education for the State of Florida,
in explanation of an analysis of the sources of the school fund of the
State: "A glance at the foregoing statistics indicates that the
section of the State designated as 'Middle Florida' is considerably
behind all the rest in all stages of educational progress. The usual
plea is that this is due to the intolerable burden of Negro education,
and a general discouragement and inactivity is ascribed to this cause.
The following figures are given to show that the education of the
Negroes of Middle Florida does not cost the white people of that
section one cent. Without discussing the American principle that it is
the duty of all property to educate every citizen as a means of
protection to the State, and with no reference to what taxes that
citizen may pay, it is the purpose of this paragraph to show that the
backwardness of education of the white people is in no degree due to
the presence of the Negro, but that the presence of the Negro has been
actually contributing to the sustenance of the white schools."

Mr. Sheats then shows that the cost of the Negro schools was $19,467,
while the Negroes contributed to the school fund in direct taxes,
together with their proper proportion of the indirect taxes, $23,984.
He concludes: "If this is a fair calculation the schools for the
Negroes are not only no burden on the white citizens, but $4,525 for
Negro schools contributed from other sources was in some way diverted
to the white schools."

Mr. Charles L. Coon, Superintendent of Schools at Wilson, N.C., is
quoted as demonstrating that had there been expended upon the Negro
schools the Negro's proportionate share of the receipts from indirect
taxes, as well as the direct taxes paid by them, $18,077 more in a
given year would have been expended on colored schools in Virginia,
$26,539 more in North Carolina, and $141,682 more in Georgia. These
figures would seem to show that in these States at least the Negro
schools are not only no burden upon the white taxpayers but that the
colored people do not get back in school facilities the equivalent of
all they themselves contribute in taxes.

In the matter of passenger transportation facilities Booker Washington
protested that injustice is done his people by most of the railroads
of the South, not in providing separate accommodations for blacks and
whites, but in furnishing the Negroes with inferior accommodations
while charging them the same rates. This injustice causes, he
believes, more resentment and bitterness among his people than all the
other injustices to which they are subjected combined. The Negro or
"Jim Crow" compartment is usually half of the baggage car which is
usually inadequate for the traffic, badly lighted, badly ventilated,
and dirty. The newsdealer of the train uses this coach and increases
the congestion by spreading his wares over several seats. White men
frequently enter this compartment to buy papers and almost always
smoke in it, thus requiring the colored women to ride in what is
virtually a smoker. Aside from these matters the Negroes rarely have
through cars and no sleeping, parlor, or buffet cars, and frequently
no means of securing food on long journeys since many if not most of
the station restaurants refuse to serve them.

In the _Century_ article Mr. Washington thus quoted the experience of
a sensible and conservative Negro friend of his from Austin, Texas--a
man of education and good reputation among both races in his native
city: "At one time," he said, in describing some of his travelling
experiences, "I got off at a station almost starved. I begged the
keeper of the restaurant to sell me a lunch in a paper and hand it out
of the window. He refused, and I had to travel a hundred miles farther
before I could get a sandwich. At another time I went to a station to
purchase my ticket. I was there thirty minutes before the ticket
office was opened. When it did finally open I at once appeared at the
window. While the ticket agent served the white people at one window,
I remained waiting at the other until the train pulled out. I was
compelled to jump aboard the train without my ticket and wire back to
get my trunk expressed. Considering the temper of the people, the
separate coach law may be the wisest plan for the South, but the
statement that the two races have equal accommodations is all bosh. I
pay the same money, but I cannot have a chair or a lavatory, and
rarely a through car. I must crawl out at all times of night, and in
all kinds of weather, in order to catch another dirty 'Jim Crow' coach
to make my connections. I do not ask to ride with white people. I do
ask for equal accommodations for the same money."

Booker Washington was of course obliged to travel in the South almost
constantly and to a great extent at night. He nearly always travelled
on a Pullman car, and so when not an interstate passenger usually
"violated" the law of whatever State he happened to be passing
through. The conductors, brakemen, and other trainmen, as a rule,
treated him with great respect and consideration and oftentimes
offered him a compartment in place of the berth which he had

Pullman cars in the South are not as a rule open to members of the
Negro race. It is only under more or less unusual conditions that a
black man is able to secure Pullman accommodations. Dr. Washington,
however, was generally treated with marked consideration whenever he
applied for Pullman car reservations. He was sometimes criticised, not
only by members of his own race, but by the unthinking of the white
race who accused him of thus seeking "social equality" with the white

The work he was compelled to do, however, in constantly travelling
from place to place, and dictating letters while travelling, made it
necessary that he conserve his strength as much as possible. He never
believed that he was defying Southern traditions in seeking the
comfort essential to his work.

Upon one occasion Dr. Washington went to Houston, Texas, and was
invited by the Secretary of the Cotton Exchange, in the name of the
Exchange, to speak to the members of the leading business
organizations of Houston, upon the floor of the Cotton Exchange Bank.
He was introduced by the secretary, who desired to give Dr. Washington
the opportunity to put before representative Southern white men the
thoughts and ideas of a representative colored man as to how the two
races might live together in the South on terms of mutual helpfulness.
Such was the impression he made upon the whites that when Dr.
Washington's secretary applied for Pullman accommodations for him,
returning East, they were not only ungrudgingly but even eagerly
granted. In those days it was unheard of for a colored man to travel
as a passenger in a Pullman car in Texas.

The injustices mentioned and all others connected with railway
passenger service for Negroes Booker Washington sought in
characteristic fashion to mitigate by instituting, through the agency
of the National Negro Business League, what are known as Railroad
Days. On these days each year colored patrons of railroads lay before
the responsible officials the respects in which they believe they are
unfairly treated and request certain definite changes. Although
started only a few years ago these Railroad Days have already
accomplished a number of the improvements desired in various

As an aid to the committees appointed in the various communities Mr.
Washington sent out a letter addressed to these committees which was
published in the Negro papers. This letter advised that all protests
on Railroad Days give: first, "a statement of present conditions,"
second, "a statement of conditions desired." There followed a sample
detailed statement of the present conditions about which there is
usually cause for complaint accompanied by a similar statement of the
conditions desired.

It was then suggested that these specific recommendations be followed
by these general requests:

"1. The same class and quality of accommodations for colored
passengers as are provided for the most favored class of travellers.

"2. Such regulations as will protect colored passengers from the
rudeness and insults of employees of the railroad.

"3. Some definite authority to whom these matters may be referred,
where friction arises, and who will, in good faith, investigate and
adjust them."

The letter concluded with this advice:

"All those who are going to act on the suggestions to make a united
effort to bring about better railroad and other travelling facilities
should not omit to remind our people that they have a duty to perform
as well as the railroads.

"First, our people should try to keep themselves clean and presentable
when travelling, and they should do their duty in trying to keep
waiting-rooms and railroad coaches clean.

"Second, it should be borne in mind that little or nothing will be
accomplished by merely talking about white people who are in charge of
railroads, etc. The only way to get any results is to go to the people
and talk to them and not about them."

Compare this definite, reasonable, and effective form of protest with
the bitter, vague, and futile outcry against the "Jim Crow" car which
is frequently heard.

Booker Washington sent a marked copy of the _Century Magazine_
containing the article, "Is the Negro Having a Fair Chance?" to the
head of every railroad in the South calling attention to the portion
relating to unfair treatment in passenger service for his people. In
response he received letters which in almost every case were friendly
and in many cases showed an active desire to coöperate in the
improvement of the conditions complained of. Mr. Washington published
extracts from these letters in the Negro press prior to his Railroad
Day proposal in order to show that the railroad officials were for the
most part at least willing to give a respectful hearing to the
complaints of their Negro patrons if properly approached. President
Stevens of the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway Company wrote that he had had
one hundred copies of the article distributed among the officials and
employees of his road. Mr. J.M. Parker, Receiver and General Manager
of the Arkansas, Louisiana & Gulf Railway Company, wrote: "I have your
favor with enclosure.... I shall take pleasure in reading this
article, and from glancing through it I am inclined to think that the
statement that the Negro is not getting a square deal in the way of
transportation facilities is well founded." Mr. William J. Black,
Passenger Traffic Manager of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fé Railway
System, wrote in part: "You will, no doubt, be pleased to learn that
the Santa Fé has already provided equipment for colored travel in
conformity with the plan outlined in your article." From all or most
of the Southern railways came letters of the general tenor of those
quoted, and thus was the way prepared for the successful inauguration
of the Railroad Days.

Constantly as he labored for the rights of his people he never sought
to obtain for them any special privileges. Unlike most leaders of
groups, classes, or races of people he never sought any exclusive or
special advantages for his followers. He did not want the Negro to
receive any favors by reason of his race any more than he wanted him
to be discriminated against on that account. He wanted all human
beings, Negroes among the rest, to receive their deserts as
individuals regardless of their race, color, religion, sex, or any
other consideration which has nothing to do with the individual's
merits. One of his favorite figures was that "one cannot hold another
in a ditch without himself staying in the ditch." There is not a
single right for which he contended for his people which if won would
not directly or indirectly benefit all other people. Were they in all
the States admitted to the franchise on equal terms with white
citizens what Mr. Washington termed the "encouragement of vice and
ignorance among white citizens" would cease.

Were the lynching of Negroes stopped the lynching of white men would
also cease. Both the innocent black man and the innocent white man
would feel a greater sense of security while the guilty black man as
well as the guilty white man would be less secure. Were the Negroes
given their full share of public education the whites would gain not
only more reliable and intelligent Negro labor, but would be largely
freed so far as Negroes are concerned from the menace of the crimes of
violence which are committed almost exclusively by ignorant persons.
Finally, were Negro travellers given equal accommodations and
treatment for equal rates on all the Southern railways the volume of
Negro travel would more rapidly increase, thus increasing the
prosperity of the railways and their shareholders which would in turn
promote the prosperity of the entire South.

True to his policy of always placing the emphasis upon those things
which are encouraging instead of upon those things which are
discouraging, Mr. Washington concluded the already much-quoted
article, "Is the Negro Having a Fair Chance?" with these observations:
"Notwithstanding all the defects in our system of dealing with him,
the Negro in this country owns more property, lives in better houses,
is in a larger measure encouraged in business, wears better clothes,
eats better food, has more schoolhouses and churches, and more
teachers and ministers, than any similar group of Negroes anywhere in
the world."



Although intensely human and consumingly interested in humanity--both
in the mass and as individuals, whether of his own race or any
other--Booker Washington thought and acted to an uncommon degree on
the impersonal plane. This characteristic was perhaps most strikingly
illustrated in his attitude toward race prejudice. When, many years
ago, he had charge of the Indian students at Hampton, and had occasion
to travel with them, he found they were free to occupy in the hotels
any rooms they could pay for, whereas he must either go without or
take a room in the servants' quarters. He regarded these experiences
as interesting illustrations of the illogical nature of race
prejudice. The occupants of these hotels did not resent mingling with
members of a backward race whose skin happened to be red, but they did
object to mingling on the same terms with members of another backward
race whose skin happened to be black. It apparently never entered his
head to regard this discrimination with bitterness or as a personal
rebuff. One could not, however, make a greater mistake than to assume
from this impersonal attitude that he condoned race prejudice, or in
any sense stood as an apologist for it. To dispel any such idea one
has only to recall his speech at the Peace Jubilee in Chicago after
the Spanish War, from which we have already quoted, and in which he
characterized racial prejudice as "a cancer gnawing at the heart of
the Republic, that shall one day prove as dangerous as an attack from
an army without or within."

Very early in his career Washington worked out for himself a perfectly
definite line of conduct in the matter of social mingling with white
people. In the South he scrupulously observed the local customs and
avoided offending the prejudices of the Southerners in so far as was
possible without unduly handicapping his work. For instance, in his
constant travelling throughout the South he not only violated their
customs, but oftentimes their laws, in using sleeping cars, but this
he was obliged to do because he could spare neither the time to travel
by day nor the strength and energy to sit up all night. This
particular Southern prejudice and the laws predicated upon it he was
hence forced to violate, but he did so as a physical necessity to the
accomplishment of his work and not in any sense as a defiance of
custom or law. While in the South he observed Southern customs and
bowed to Southern prejudices, but he declined to be bound by such
customs, laws, and prejudices when in other parts of this country or
the world. Except in the South he allowed himself whatever degree of
social intercourse with the whites seemed best calculated to
accomplish his immediate object and his ultimate aims. He never
accepted purely social invitations from white persons. He always
claimed that he could best satisfy his social desires among his own
people. He believed that the question of so-called "social equality"
between the races was too academic and meaningless to be worthy of
serious discussion.

Probably he never made a more well-considered or illuminating
statement of his personal attitude toward social intercourse with the
dominant race than in a letter to the late Edgar Gardiner Murphy, a
Southerner "of light and leading," author of "The Present South," "The
Basis of Ascendancy," and other notable books on the relations between
the races. Mr. Murphy, as a Southerner, became alarmed at the attacks
upon Booker Washington by certain Southern newspapers and public men
because of his appearance at so-called social functions in the North.
Mr. Murphy, rightly regarding the retention of the favorable opinion
of representative Southern whites as essential to the success of
Washington's work, very naturally feared any course of action which
seemed to threaten the continuance of that favorable opinion. In
response to a letter in which Mr. Murphy expressed these fears and
asked for an opportunity to discuss the situation with him Mr.
Washington replied as follows:


     MY DEAR SIR: I have received your kind letter, for which I
     thank you very much. I was very much disappointed that I did
     not have an opportunity of meeting you, as I had planned the
     other day, so as not to be so hurried in talking with you as
     I usually am. I shall be very glad, however, the very first
     time I can find another spare hour when in New York (Mr.
     Murphy was then living in New York City) to have you talk
     with me fully and frankly about the matters that are in your

     However we may differ in our view regarding certain matters,
     there is no man in the country whose frankness, earnestness,
     and sincere disinterestedness I respect more than yours, and
     whatever you say always has great weight with me.

     Your letter emphasizes the tremendous difficulty of the work
     at the South. In most cases, and in most countries where a
     large section of the people are down, and are to be helped
     up, those attempting to do the work have before them a
     straight, simple problem of elevating the unfortunate people
     without the entanglement of racial prejudice to be grappled
     with. I think I do not exaggerate when I say that perhaps a
     third or half of the thought and energy of those engaged in
     the elevation of the colored people is given in the
     direction of trying to do the thing or not doing the thing
     which would enhance racial prejudice. This feature of the
     situation I believe very few people at the North or at the
     South appreciate. What is true of the Negro educator is true
     in a smaller degree of the white educator at the South. I am
     constantly trying, as best I can, to study the situation as
     it is right here on the ground, and I may be mistaken, but
     aside from the wild and demagogical talk on the part of a
     few I am unable to discover much or any change in the
     attitude of the best white people toward the best colored
     people. So far as my own individual experience and
     observation are concerned, I am treated about the same as I
     have always been. I was in Athens, Georgia, a few days ago,
     to deliver ah address before the colored people at the State
     Fair, and the meeting was attended by the best class of
     whites and the best class of colored people, who seemed to
     be pleased over what I said.

     Mr. Blank, a Southern Congressman, just now is making a good
     deal of noise, but you will recall that Mr. Blank spoke just
     as bitterly against me before Mr. Roosevelt became President
     as he has since. I do not want to permit myself to be
     misled, but I repeat that I cannot see or feel that any
     great alienation has taken place between the two classes of
     people that you refer to.

     For the sake of argument I want to grant for the moment a
     thing which I have never done before, even in a private
     letter, and which is very distasteful to me, and that is,
     that I am the leader of the colored people. Do you think it
     will ever be possible for one man to be set up as the leader
     of ten millions of people, meaning a population nearly twice
     as large as that of the Dominion of Canada and nearly equal
     to that of the Republic of Mexico, without the actions of
     that individual being carefully watched and commented upon,
     and what he does being exaggerated either in one direction
     or the other? Again, if I am the leader and therefore the
     mouthpiece for ten millions of colored people, is it
     possible for such a leader to avoid coming into contact with
     the representatives of the ruling classes of white people
     upon many occasions; and is it not to be expected that when
     questions that are racial and national and international in
     their character are to be discussed, that such a
     representative of the Negro race would be sought out both by
     individuals and by conventions? If, as you kindly suggest, I
     am the leader, I hardly see how such notoriety and
     prominence as will naturally come can be wholly or in any
     large degree avoided.

     Judging by some of the criticisms that have appeared
     recently, mainly from the class of people to whom I have
     referred, it seems to me that some of the white people at
     the South are making an attempt to control my actions when I
     am in the North and in Europe. Heretofore, no man has been
     more careful to regard the feelings of the Southern people
     in actions and words than I have been, and this policy I
     shall continue to pursue, but I have never attempted to hide
     or to minimize the fact that when I am out of the South I do
     not conform to the same customs and rules that I do in the
     South. I say I have not attempted to hide it because
     everything that I have done in this respect was published
     four years ago in my book, "Up from Slavery," which has been
     read widely throughout the South, and I did not hear a word
     of adverse criticism passed upon what I had done. For
     fifteen years I have been doing at the North just what I
     have been doing during the past year. I have never attended
     a purely social function given by white people anywhere in
     the country. Nearly every week I receive invitations to
     weddings of rich people, but these I always refuse. Mrs.
     Washington almost never accompanies me on any occasion where
     there can be the least sign of purely social intercourse.
     Whenever I meet white people in the North at their offices,
     in their parlors, or at their dinner tables, or at banquets,
     it is with me purely a matter of business, either in the
     interest of our institution or in the interest of my race;
     no other thought ever enters my mind. For me to say now,
     after fifteen years of creating interest in my race and in
     this institution in that manner, that I must stop, would
     simply mean that I must cease to get money in a large
     measure for this institution. In meeting the people in this
     way I am simply doing what the head of practically every
     school, black and white, in the South is constantly doing.
     For purely social pleasure I have always found all my
     ambitions satisfied among my own people, and you will find
     that in proportion as the colored race becomes educated and
     prosperous, in the same proportion is this true of all
     colored people.

     I said a minute ago that I had tried to be careful in regard
     to the feelings of the Southern people. It has been urged
     upon me time and time again to employ a number of white
     teachers at this institution. I have not done so and do not
     intend to do so, largely for the reason that they would be
     constantly mingling with each other at the table. For thirty
     years and more, in every one of our Southern States, white
     and colored people have sat down to the table three times a
     day nearly throughout the year, and I have heard very little
     criticism passed upon them. This kind of thing, however, at
     Tuskegee I have always tried to avoid so far as our regular
     teaching force is concerned. But I repeat, if I begin to
     yield in the performance of my duty when out of the South in
     one respect, I do not know where the end will be. It is very
     difficult for you, or any other person who is not in my
     place, to understand the difficulty and embarrassment that I
     am confronted with. You have no idea how many invitations of
     various kinds I am constantly refusing or trying to get away
     from because I want to avoid embarrassing situations. For
     example, over a year ago Mr. S---- invited me to go to
     Stockbridge, Massachusetts, near Lenox, to deliver an
     address on General Armstrong's life and work. When I reached
     Stockbridge an hour or so before the time of delivering the
     address, I found that Mr. S----, who had invited me, had
     also invited five or six other gentlemen to meet me at
     luncheon. The luncheon I knew nothing about until I reached
     the town. Under such circumstances I am at a loss to know
     how I could have avoided accepting the invitation. A few
     days afterward I filled a long-standing invitation to
     lecture at Amherst College. I reached the town a few hours
     before dinner and found that a number of people, including
     several college presidents, had been invited to meet me at
     dinner. Taking still another case: over a year ago I
     promised a colored club in Cambridge, Massachusetts, that I
     would be their guest at a banquet in October. The banquet
     was held on the third of the month, and when I reached
     Cambridge I found that in addition to the members of the
     colored club, the Mayor of the city and a number of Harvard
     professors, including President Eliot, had been invited; and
     I could go on and state case after case. Of course, if I
     wanted to make a martyr of myself and draw especial
     attention to me and to the institution, I could easily do so
     by simply writing whenever I receive an invitation to a
     dinner or banquet that I could not accept on account of the
     color of my skin.

     Six years ago at the Peace Jubilee in Chicago, where I spoke
     at a meeting at which President McKinley was present, I took
     both luncheon and dinner in the same dining-room with
     President McKinley and was the guest of the same club that
     he was a guest of. There were Southern men present, and the
     fact that I was present and spoke was widely heralded
     throughout the South, and so far as I know not a word of
     adverse comment was made. For nearly fifteen years the
     addresses which I have been constantly making at dinners and
     banquets in the North have been published throughout the
     South, and no adverse comment has been made regarding my
     presence on these occasions.

     Practically all of the invitations to functions that are of
     even a semi-social character are urged upon me by Northern
     people, and very often after I have refused to accept
     invitations pressure is brought to bear on special friends
     of mine in order to get me to accept. Notwithstanding all
     this, where I accept one invitation I refuse ten; in fact,
     you have no idea how many invitations to dinner I refuse
     while I am in the North. I not only do so for the reason
     that I do not care to excite undue criticism, but for the
     further reason that if I were to accept any large proportion
     of such invitations I would have little time left for my
     legitimate work. In many cases the invitations come from
     people who do not give money but simply want to secure a
     notoriety or satisfy curiosity.

     I have stated the case as I see it, and with a view of
     having you think over these matters by the time that we


There were two particularly notable occasions upon which Mr.
Washington unwittingly stirred the prejudices of the South. The first
was when in 1901 he dined with President Roosevelt and his family at
the White House; the second, when four years later he dined with Mr.
John Wanamaker and his daughter at a hotel in Saratoga, New York.

The truth of his dining at the White House, of which so many imaginary
versions have been given, was this: having received so many
expressions of approval from all sections of the country on his
appointment of ex-Governor Jones to a Federal judgeship in Alabama,
which appointment was made, as described in a previous chapter, on the
recommendation of Booker Washington and Grover Cleveland, President
Roosevelt asked him to come to the White House and discuss with him
some further appointments and other matters of mutual interest.

On arriving in Washington he went to the home of his friend,
Whitefield McKinlay, a colored man with whom he usually stopped when
in the Capital. The next morning he went to the White House by
appointment for an interview with the President. Since they did not
have time to finish their discussion, the President, in accordance
with the course he had often followed with others under similar
circumstances, invited Washington to come to dinner so that they might
finish their discussion in the evening without loss of time.

In response to this oral invitation he went to the White House at the
appointed time, dined with the President and his family and two other
guests, and after dinner discussed with the President chiefly the
character of individual colored office holders or applicants for
office and, as says Colonel Roosevelt, "the desirability in specific
cases, notably in all offices having to do with the administration of
justice, of getting high-minded and fearless white men into
office--men whom we could be sure would affirmatively protect the
law-abiding Negro's right to life, liberty, and property just exactly
as they protected the rights of law-abiding white men." Also they
discussed the public service of the South so far as the
representatives of the Federal Administration were concerned--the
subject upon which President Roosevelt had wished to consult him. The
next day the bare fact that he had dined with the President was
obscurely announced by the Washington papers as a routine item of
White House news. Some days later, however, an enterprising
correspondent for a Southern paper lifted this unpretentious item from
oblivion and sent it to his paper to be blazoned forth in a front-page
headline. For days and weeks thereafter the Southern press fairly
shrieked with the news of this quiet dinner. The very papers which had
most loudly praised the President for his appointment of a Southern
Democrat to a Federal judgeship now execrated him for inviting to dine
with him the man upon whose recommendation he had made this

Mr. Washington was also roundly abused for his "presumption" in daring
to dine at the White House. This was a little illogical in view of the
well-known fact that an invitation to the White House is a summons
rather than an invitation in the ordinary sense. Neither President
Roosevelt nor Mr. Washington issued any statements by way of
explanation or apology. While it was, of course, farthest from the
wishes of either to offend the sensibilities of the South, neither
one--the many statements to the contrary, notwithstanding--ever
indicated subsequently any regret or admitted that the incident was a

During the furore over this incident both the President and Mr.
Washington received many threats against their lives. The President
had the Secret Service to protect him, while Mr. Washington had no
such reliance. His co-workers surrounded him with such precautions as
they could, and his secretary accumulated during this period enough
threatening letters to fill a desk drawer. It was not discovered
until some years after that one of these threats had been followed by
the visit to Tuskegee of a hired assassin. A strange Negro was hurt in
jumping off the train before it reached the Tuskegee Institute
station. There being no hospital for Negroes in the town of Tuskegee
he was taken to the hospital of the Institute, where he was cared for
and nursed for several weeks before he was able to leave. Mr.
Washington was absent in the North during all of this time. Many
months later this Negro confessed that he had come to Tuskegee in the
pay of a group of white men in Louisiana for the purpose of
assassinating Booker Washington. He said that he became so ashamed of
himself while being cared for by the doctors and nurses employed by
the very man he had come to murder that he left as soon as he was able
to do so instead of waiting to carry out his purpose on the return of
his victim, as he had originally planned to do.

Booker Washington, with all his philosophy and capacity for rising
above the personal, was probably more deeply pained by this affair
than any other in his whole career. His pain was, however, almost
solely on Mr. Roosevelt's account. He felt keenly hurt and chagrined
that Mr. Roosevelt, whom he so intensely admired, and who was doing so
much, not only for his own race but for the whole South as he
believed, should suffer all this abuse and even vilification on his
account. President Roosevelt evidently realized something of how he
felt, for in a letter to him written at this time he added this
postscript: "By the way, don't worry about _me_; it will all come
right in time, and if I have helped by ever so little 'the ascent of
man' I am more than satisfied."

Probably no single public event ever gave Booker Washington greater
pleasure than Colonel Roosevelt's triumphant election to the
Presidency in 1904. The day after the election he wrote the President
the following letter:


     _Tuskegee Institute, Alabama,_
       _November 10, 1904_.

     MY DEAR MR. PRESIDENT: I cannot find words in which to
     express my feeling regarding the tremendous outcome of
     Tuesday's election. I know that you feel the sacred and
     almost divine confidence imposed. In my opinion, no human
     being in America since Washington, perhaps, has been so
     honored and vindicated. The result shows that the great
     heart of the American people beats true and is in the
     direction of fair play for all, regardless of race or color.
     Nothing has ever occurred which has given me more faith in
     all races or shows more plainly that they will respond to
     high ideals when properly appealed to.

     I know that you will not misunderstand me when I say I share
     somewhat the feeling of triumph and added responsibility
     that must animate your soul at the present time because of
     the personal abuse heaped upon you on account of myself. The
     great victory and vindication does not make me feel boastful
     or vainglorious, but, on the other hand, very humble, and
     gives me more faith in humanity and makes me more determined
     to work harder in the interest of all our people of both
     races regardless of race or color. I shall urge our people
     everywhere to manifest their gratitude by showing a spirit
     of meekness and added usefulness. The election shows to
     what a great height you have already lifted the character of
     American citizenship. Before you leave the White House I am
     sure that the whole South will understand you and love you.

     God keep you and bless you.

     Yours most sincerely,


     _To President Theodore Roosevelt, White House, Washington_

President Roosevelt expressed great appreciation of this letter and
said that Mr. Washington had taken the election in just the way he
would have wished him to take it.

About two years later Mr. Washington wrote President Roosevelt another
letter which throws light upon the relations between the two men as
well as upon the incongruous phases of racial prejudice:

     _Tuskegee Institute, Alabama,_
       _June 19, 1906._

     MY DEAR MR. PRESIDENT: It will interest you to know that the
     Cox family, over whom such a disturbance was made in
     connection with the Indianola, Miss., post-office, have
     started a bank in that same town which direct and reliable
     information convinces me is in a prosperous condition. The
     bank has the confidence of both races. It is a curious
     circumstance that while objection was made to this black
     family being at the head of the post-office no objection is
     made to this black man being president of a bank in the same

     A letter just received from a reliable banker in Mississippi
     contains the following sentences:

     "Now, with reference to Mr. W.W. Cox, of Indianola, Miss., I
     beg to advise that no man of color is as highly regarded and
     respected by the white people of his town and county as he.
     It is true that he organized and is cashier of the Delta
     Penny Savings Bank, domiciled there. I visited Indianola
     during the spring of 1905 and was very much surprised to
     note the esteem in which he was held by the bankers and
     business men (white) of that place. He is a good, clean man
     and above the average in intelligence, and knows how to
     handle the typical Southern white man. In the last statement
     furnished by his bank to the State Auditor, his bank showed
     total resources of $46,000. He owns and lives in one of the
     best resident houses in Indianola, regardless of race, and
     located in a part of the town where other colored men seem
     to be not desired. The whites adjacent to him seem to be his
     friends. He has a large plantation near the town, worth
     $35,000 or $40,000. He is a director in Mr. Pettiford's bank
     at Birmingham, Ala., and I think is vice-president of the
     same. He also owns stock in the bank of Mound Bayou."

     Yours very truly,


     _To President Theodore Roosevelt, Washington, D.C._

In August, 1905, Booker Washington spoke one Sunday morning before a
large audience in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. After his address Mr. John
Wanamaker and his daughter were among those who came forward to greet
him. They also invited him to dine with them at the United States
Hotel that afternoon. Mr. Wanamaker had been particularly interested
in Booker Washington and his work for many years. Mr. Washington
accepted this invitation without the least thought of reawakening the
clamor caused by the Roosevelt dinner. The dinner itself passed off
quietly, pleasantly, and without particular event. It was not until he
took up the papers at his little hotel in New York the next morning
that he found that he had again stirred up a hornet's nest similar to
that of four years before. The denunciation was if anything more
violent; for, as many of his assailants said, he should have profited
by the protests of four years before. In an editorial entitled,
"Booker Washington's Saratoga Performance" a Southern newspaper said:
"Since the fateful day when Booker T. Washington sat down to the
dinner table in the White House with President Roosevelt he has done
many things to hurt the cause of which he is regarded as the foremost
man.... Leaving out of the question the lack of delicacy and
self-respect manifested by Wanamaker and his family, blame must rest
upon Washington, because he knows how deep and impassable is the gulf
between whites and blacks in the South when the social situation is
involved. He deliberately flaunts all this in the face of the Southern
people among whom he is living and among whom his work has to be
carried on. He could have given no harder knock to his institution
than he gave when he marched into that Saratoga dinner room with a
white woman and her father."

These sentiments were expressed editorially by another Southern paper:
"Wanamaker is unworthy to shine the shoes of Booker Washington. He is
not in Washington's class. If the truly smart set of Saratoga was
shocked that Booker should have been caught in this man's company and
as his guest we are not surprised. But still Booker Washington could
not eat dinner with the most ordinary white man in this section. He
wouldn't dare intimate that he sought such social recognition among
whites here"; and in conclusion this editorial said: "The South only
pities the daughter that she should have allowed herself to be used by
a father whose sensibilities and ideas of the proprieties are so
dulled by his asinine qualities that he could not see the harm in it."

This vituperation of Mr. Wanamaker, and the scoring him for his part
in the affair even more than Washington, recalls an incident which Mr.
Washington himself relates in his book entitled, "My Larger
Education." When he was making a trip through Florida, a few weeks
after his dinner with President Roosevelt, at a little station near
Gainesville, "A white man got aboard the train," he says, "whose dress
and manner indicated that he was from the class of small farmers in
that part of the country. He shook hands with me very cordially, and
said: 'I am mighty glad to see you. I have heard about you and I have
been wanting to meet you for a long while.'

"I was naturally pleased at this cordial reception, but I was
surprised when, after looking me over, he remarked: 'Say, you are a
great man. You are the greatest man in this country.'

"I protested mildly, but he insisted, shaking his head and repeating,
'Yes, sir, the greatest man in this country.' Finally I asked him what
he had against President Roosevelt, telling him at the same time that,
in my opinion, the President of the United States was the greatest man
in the country.

"'Huh! Roosevelt?' he replied, with considerable emphasis in his
voice, 'I used to think that Roosevelt was a great man until he ate
dinner with you. That settled him for me.'"

Mr. Washington goes on to say: "This remark of a Florida farmer is but
one of the many experiences which have taught me something of the
curious nature of this thing that we call prejudice--social prejudice,
race prejudice, and all the rest. I have come to the conclusion that
these prejudices are something that it does not pay to disturb. It is
best to 'let sleeping dogs lie.' All sections of the United States,
like all other parts of the world, have their own peculiar customs and
prejudices. For that reason it is the part of common sense to respect
them. When one goes to European countries, or into the Far West, or
into India or China, he meets certain customs and certain prejudices
which he is bound to respect and, to a certain extent, comply with.
The same holds good regarding conditions in the North and in the
South. In the South it is not the custom for colored and white people
to be entertained at the same hotel; it is not the custom for black
and white children to attend the same school. In most parts of the
North a different custom prevails. I have never stopped to question or
quarrel with the customs of the people in the part of the country in
which I found myself."

And so he acted in the case of the Wanamaker dinner. He accepted Mr.
Wanamaker's invitation because he was in the North and his host was a
Northerner. In so doing he felt that he was not violating any
generally accepted custom or universally entertained prejudice of the
part of the country in which he found himself. Had the inconceivable
occurred, and had a Southerner invited him to dine in the South, under
conditions in all other respects identical, he would not have
accepted. He would not have been willing to incur the resentment of
the South even had his host been willing to defy local prejudices by
inviting him. On the other hand, he felt that the attitude of those
who would seek to control him in matters of social custom when he was
not in the South or among Southerners was unfair and unreasonable.

An incident which occurred while he was stopping at the English Hotel
in Indianapolis in 1903 furnished copy for the more or less
sensational press of the country. This hotel does not as a rule accept
Negroes as guests, but Mr. Washington was always a welcome visitor
there just as he was at many other hotels where less-favored members
of his race were excluded. He never patronized this hotel or any other
for the purpose of asserting his rights, but merely to obtain the
comforts and the seclusion so essential to a man who always worked up
to the limits of even his great strength and usually a little beyond
such limits. It is, indeed, quite possible that he might have lived
longer had he been free to stop at hotels in the South instead of
undergoing the constant wear and tear of being entertained in the
private homes of the all-too-kind hosts of his own race. All public
men and lecturers, in a large way of business, learn early in their
careers that they must decline practically all proffers of private
hospitality if they are to preserve their health.

On this occasion the white chambermaid assigned to care for the room
he occupied refused to perform her duties so far as his room was
concerned on the ground, as she stated, that she "would not clean up
after a nigger." For this refusal to do her work the management
discharged her. The Springfield _Republican_ of that date thus
describes what followed: "A hotel at Houston, Texas, immediately
offered her a place there, which she accepted, but as matters are now
going she is more likely to retire from the business as a grand lady
living on an independent income. Her name is upon all tongues in the
Southland, and the newspapers print long and complimentary accounts of
her life and the one great deed that has made her famous. Citizens and
communities vie with each other in contributing money.... Captain John
W. Johnson of Sheffield, Ala., is organizing a general subscription
fund from that and neighboring towns. A meeting at Houston, Texas,
raised $500 for her in the name of a 'self-respecting girl.' The
Houston _Chronicle_ is conducting another popular subscription.
Contributions are coming into it from all parts of Texas. Citizens of
New Orleans have raised $1,000. About twoscore Southern towns and a
dozen cities so far figure in the contributions. The movement extends
to Indianapolis, where a gold watch has been contributed." The
hysterical lauding of this "heroine" was subsequently wet blanketed by
the discovery that she had cared for Mr. Washington's room for the
first day or two of his stay without protest, and by the further
discovery that her second or third husband had recently obtained a
divorce from her.

It is only fair to add that many of the leading citizens of the South
strongly deprecated the sensational magnifying of this trivial
incident by a certain section of the Southern press. Mr. Washington
declined to make any comment for publication during or after this
petty tumult.

In spite of the three events described, and others of a like nature
that might be mentioned, no Negro was ever so liked, respected,
admired, and eulogized by the Southern whites as Booker Washington.
The day following his great speech before the Cotton States Exposition
in Atlanta in 1895 when he went out upon the streets of the city he
was so besieged by white citizens from the highest to the lowest, who
wanted to shake his hand and congratulate him, that he was fairly
driven in self-defense to remain indoors. Not many years after that it
had become a commonplace for him to be an honored guest on important
public occasions throughout the South. On occasions too numerous even
to note in passing he was welcomed, and introduced to great audiences,
by Southern Governors, Mayors, and other high officials, as well as by
eminent private citizens. Such recognition came partly as a
spontaneous tribute to the great work he was doing and partly because
of his constantly reiterated assurance that the Negro was not seeking
either political domination over the white man or social intercourse
with him. He reasoned that the more Southern whites he could convince
that his people were not seeking what is known as social equality or
political dominance, the less race friction there would be.

It has already been mentioned that at the opening of the first Negro
agricultural fair in Albany, Georgia, in the fall of 1914, the Mayor
of the city and several members of the City Council sat on the
platform during the exercises and listened to his speech with most
spontaneous and obvious approval. In this part of Georgia the Negroes
outnumber the whites by at least six to one. The afternoon of the same
day the Mayor invited Booker Washington and his party to come to the
city hall and confer with himself, the other city officials, and a
group of prominent private citizens on the relations between the races
in that city and locality. At this conference there was a friendly,
easy interchange of ideas interspersed with jokes and laughter, but
all the time Mr. Washington was leading them step by step to see that
by giving the Negroes proper educational opportunities they were
helping themselves as well as the Negroes. Mr. Stowe, who was present
at this conference, noticed to his surprise that some of the arguments
advanced by Dr. Washington, which seemed to him to be almost worn-out
truisms, although freshly and strongly expressed, were seized upon by
his auditors as new and original ideas. When he made this observation
to Mr. Washington after the meeting he said that several other
Northerners had under similar circumstances made the same observation
and then he added: "I only wish that it were possible for me to spend
several months of each year talking with just such groups of
representative Southern men. They are always responsive, eager to
understand what we are driving at, and sympathetic when they do
understand. The necessity for raising money has forced us to devote
the bulk of our time to educating the Northern public to the needs of
the situation to the neglect of our Southern white neighbors right
here about us."

It was an interesting illustration of the illogical workings of race
prejudice that this man to whom the city fathers from the Mayor down
gave up practically their entire day--this man to whom the city hall
was thrown open and at whose feet sat the leading citizens as well as
the officials of the city, could not have found shelter in any hotel
in town. This man whom the officials and other leading citizens
delighted to honor arrived at night on a Pullman sleeping car in
violation of the law of the State; and, after all possible honor had
been paid him, save allowing him to enter a hotel, departed the next
night by a Pullman sleeper in violation of the law!

This constant "law-breaker" was welcomed and introduced to audiences
by Governor Blanchard of Louisiana at Shreveport, La.; by Governor
Candler at Atlanta, Ga.; by Governor Donaghey at Little Rock, Ark.;
by Governor McCorkle of West Virginia, and successively by Governors
Jelks and O'Neil of his own State of Alabama. Still other Southern
Governors spoke from the same platform with him at congresses,
conventions, and meetings of various descriptions.

Next to South Carolina and Georgia, perhaps no State in the Union has
shown as much hostility to the progress of the Negro as Mississippi.
In 1908, in response to the urgent appeals of Charles Banks, the Negro
banker and dominating force of the Negro town of Mound Bayou, Mr.
Washington agreed to make a tour through Mississippi such as he had
made three years before through Arkansas and what were then Oklahoma
and Indian Territories. At Jackson, Miss., the management of the State
Fair Association offered the local committee of Negroes the great
Liberal Arts Building for Mr. Washington's address. In the audience
were not less than five thousand persons, among them several hundred
white citizens. Among the whites who sat on the platform were Governor
Noel, Lieutenant-Governor Manship, Bishop Charles B. Galloway of the
Methodist Episcopal Church South, Mr. Milsaps, the richest citizen of
the State; the postmaster of Jackson, the United States Marshal, Hon.
Edgar S. Wilson, and a considerable number of other prominent white

At Natchez, a few nights later, the audience literally filled every
available space in the Grand Opera House and overflowed into the
adjoining streets. This audience was in many respects the most
remarkable that the city had ever seen. The entire orchestra was given
over to the white citizens of Natchez and Adams County, and still
there was not room to accommodate them, for they were packed in the
rear and stood three and four deep in the aisles. The colored people
were crowded into the balcony and the galleries. When Booker
Washington arose to speak, he was greeted by a perfect whirlwind of
applause and cheering. He was visibly affected by the reception given
him by whites as well as blacks.

When he finished speaking a large delegation headed by the Mayor of
the city made their way to the platform, welcomed him to the city,
thanked him for his address, and stated that his influence for good in
the city and county could not be estimated.

Mr. J.T. Harahan, of the Illinois Central Railroad, provided the
Pullman tourist car in which Mr. Washington and his party toured the
State. It was estimated that from sixty to eighty thousand people saw
and heard him during his seven days' trip. On the conclusion of the
tour one paper said, "No more popular man ever came into the State,
white or black, and no man ever spoke to larger audiences than he did.
He is the only speaker who ever filled the Jackson, Miss., Coliseum."

Only six months before his death Booker Washington made a similar tour
through Louisiana. Louisiana has always been reputed to be in the same
category as Mississippi in opposing Negro progress. To some of his
audiences Mr. Washington said that he and his party of twenty-five
colored men had felt before they started very much like the little
girl who was about to go on a trip to Louisiana with her parents. The
night before they started she said her prayer as usual:

     "_Now I lay me down to sleep
     I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
     If I should die before I wake,
     I pray the Lord my soul to take._"

With a deep sigh she then added, "Good-bye, Lord, for two weeks. We
are going down to Louisiana."

In introducing Mr. Washington to a great audience in New Orleans, made
up of both races, Mayor Berhman said, turning to Booker Washington:

"The work you are doing for the uplift of your people means untold
good to the great State of Louisiana and to the whole country. Nowhere
has your race greater opportunities than in Louisiana. If the people
of the Negro race will follow your teachings, they will help
materially to bring about a condition that will mean much for
Louisiana, the South, and the nation."

At Shreveport former Governor N.C. Blanchard, in introducing Dr.
Washington to an audience of over 10,000 white and colored citizens,
said: "I am glad to see this goodly attendance of white people,
representative white people at that, for his Honor, the Mayor, is
here, and with him are members and officials of the city government
and other prominent citizens of our community. They are here to give
encouragement to Mr. Washington, to hold up his hands, for they know
that he is leading his people along right lines--lines tending to
promote better feeling and better understanding between the two

"Our country needs to have white and black people, sober, honest,
frugal, and thrifty. Booker T. Washington stands for these things. He
advises and counsels and leads toward these goals. Hear him and heed
his words."

At the invitation of Superintendent Gwinn the colored school children
of New Orleans were given a half-holiday to hear Dr. Washington. He
addressed them in an arena seating more than five thousand people,
which was given for the occasion by its white owner.

To one of these Louisiana audiences Mr. Washington said: "Both races
in the South suffer at the hands of public opinion by reason of the
fact that the outside world hears of our difficulties, of crimes,
mobs, and lynchings, but it does not hear of or know about the
evidences of racial friendship and good-will which exist in the
majority of communities in Louisiana and other Southern States where
black and white people live together in such large numbers. Lynchings
are widely reported by telegraph. The quiet, effective work of devoted
white people in the South for Negro uplift is not generally or widely
reported. The best white citizenship must take charge of the mob and
not have the mob take charge of civilization. There is enough wisdom,
patience, forbearance, and common sense in the South for white people
and black people to live together in peace for all time."

In short, Booker Washington met race prejudice just as he did all
other difficulties, as an obstacle to be surmounted rather than as an
injustice to be railed at and denounced regardless of the



One secret of Booker Washington's leadership was that he always had
his ear to the ground and his feet on the ground. Some one has said
that "a practical idealist is a man who keeps his feet on the ground
even though his head is in the clouds." Booker Washington was that
kind of an idealist. He kept in constant and intimate touch with the
masses of his people, particularly with those on the soil. Like the
giant in the fable who doubled his strength every time he touched the
ground, Booker Washington seemed to renew his strength every time he
came in contact with the plain people of his race, particularly the
farmers. No matter how pressed and driven by multifarious affairs, he
could always find time for a rambling talk, apparently quite at
random, with an old, uneducated, ante-bellum black farmer. Sometimes
he would halt the entire business of a national convention in order to
hear the comment of some simple but shrewd old character. He had a
profound respect for the wisdom of simple people who lived at close
grips with the realities of life.

At the 1914 meeting of the National Negro Business League at Muskogee,
Okla., a Mr. Jake ----, who had started as an ignorant orphan boy,
delighted Mr. Washington's heart when he testified: "When I first
started out I lived in a chicken house, 12 × 14 feet; now I own a
ten-room residence, comfortably furnished, and in a settlement where
we have a good school, a good church, and plenty of amusement,
including ten children."

After the laughter and applause had subsided Mr. Washington asked: "Do
you think there is the same kind of an opening out here in Oklahoma
for other and younger men of our race to do as you have done and to
succeed equally as well?"

To which Mr. Jake replied: "... I think I have succeeded with little
or no education, and it stands to reason that some of the graduates
from these industrial and agricultural schools ought to be able to do
better than I have done."

Which was, of course, just the answer Mr. Washington hoped he would

Mr. Washington's instinct for keeping close to the plain people was
perhaps best illustrated by his tours through the far Southern States
for the improvement of the living conditions of his people, the tours
to which allusion has several times been made. His insistence upon
cleanliness, neatness, and paint became so well known that his
approach to a community frequently caused frantic cleaning up of
yards, mending of gates, and painting of houses. These sudden converts
to paint sometimes found out from which side the great man was to
approach their house and painted only that side and the front.

[Illustration: Mr. Washington in characteristic pose addressing an

[Illustration: Mr. Washington silhouetted against the crowd upon one
of his educational tours.]

[Illustration: Mr. Washington in typical pose speaking to an audience
at Shreveport, La.]

When he spoke to his people on these trips he had the faculty of
becoming one of them. He described their daily lives in their own
language. He told them how much land they owned, how much of it was
mortgaged, how much and what they raised, and in fact every vital
economic and social fact about their lives and the conditions about
them. He praised them for what was creditable, censured and bantered
them for what was bad, and told them what conditions should be and how
they could make them so.

He made these tours through Mississippi, Tennessee, North Carolina,
South Carolina, Texas, Florida, Louisiana, and portions of Alabama and

Besides these State tours he would, whenever he could take the time,
shoot out into the country surrounding Tuskegee Institute to encourage
and promote the efforts of his neighbors of his own race. In July,
1911, accompanied by some guests and members of his faculty, he made
such a visit to Mt. Olive, a village on the east of Tuskegee. The
party was first taken to the village church where they found a teeming
congregation to greet them. Here Mr. Washington was introduced by the
principal of the "Washington School" who said that since Mr.
Washington's visit eighteen months ago the colored people had
purchased forty-one lots, built several new houses, whitewashed or
painted the old ones, and increased their gardens to such an extent
that few, if any, had still to buy their vegetables.

Mr. Washington opened his talk by saying: "It is an inspiration
simply to drive through and see your pleasant houses surrounded by
flowers and gardens and all that goes to make life happy." He then
appealed to the women to make their homes as attractive on the inside
as the gardens had made them on the outside. He told them the best
receipt for keeping the men and the children at home and out of
mischief was to make the homes so attractive that they would not want
to go away. Then, as always, before he closed he put in his warnings
and injunctions to the derelict: "Paint your houses; if you can't
paint them, whitewash them. Put the men to work in their spare hours
repairing fences, gates, and windows. Get together in your church, as
you have in your school-work, settle on a pastor and get him to live
in your community. Pay him in order that he may live here and become a
part of your community."

On another such trip through the southwestern part of Macon County,
the county in which Tuskegee is located, he was once accompanied by
Judge Robert H. Terrell, the Negro Judge of the District of Columbia;
the Hon. Whitefield McKinlay, the Negro Collector of Customs for the
District of Columbia; George L. Knox, owner and editor of the
Indianapolis _Freeman_, a Negro newspaper; W.T.B. Williams, agent for
the Anna T. Jeanes Fund and the Slater Board; Dr. Thomas Jesse Jones
of the United States Census Bureau, and Lord Eustace Percy, one of the
Secretaries of the British Embassy at Washington.

[Illustration: A party of friends who accompanied Dr. Washington on
one of his educational tours through the State of Mississippi. In the
party are Charles Banks, a leading Negro banker and business man of
Mississippi; Bishop E. Cottrell; and on Dr. Washington's right, Robert
R. Moton, his successor in the work at Tuskegee Institute.]

One can well imagine with what pride the simple black farmers of Macon
County displayed their products and their live stock to these
distinguished representatives of both races headed by their own great
neighbor and leader. At Mt. Andrew, one of the communities visited,
the Farmers' Improvement Club had prepared an exhibit consisting of
the best specimens of vegetables, fruits, and meats raised in the
community. A report stated that the Negro people of the town owned
over two hundred head of live stock and had over thirty houses which
were either whitewashed or painted. When called upon for remarks, Mr.
Washington expressed himself as greatly encouraged by what he had seen
and said in conclusion, "Here in Macon County you have good land that
will grow abundant crops. You have also a good citizenship, and hence
there is every opportunity for you to make your community a heaven
upon earth."

Booker Washington was always emphasizing the necessity of better
conditions right here and now instead of in a distant future or in
heaven. He was constantly combating the tendency in his people--a
tendency common to all people but naturally particularly strong in
those having a heritage of slavery--to substitute the anticipated
bliss of a future life for effective efforts to improve the conditions
of this present life. He was always telling them to put their energies
into societies for the preservation of health and improvement of
living conditions, instead of into the too numerous and popular sick
benefit and death benefit organizations.

At the next stop of the party Mr. Washington was introduced to the
assembled townspeople by a graduate of Tuskegee Institute, who was
one of their leading citizens and most successful farmers. In this
talk he urged the people to get more land and keep it and to grow
something besides cotton. He said they should not lean upon others and
should not go to town on Saturdays to "draw upon" the merchants, but
should stay at home and "draw every day from their own soil corn,
peas, beans, and hogs." He urged the men to give their wives more time
to work around the house and to raise vegetables. (This, of course,
instead of requiring them to work in the fields with the men as is so
common.) He urged especially that they take their wives into their
confidence and make them their partners as well as their companions.
He assured them that if they took their wives into partnership they
would accumulate more and get along better in every way.

There was no advice given by him more constantly or insistently in
speaking to the plain people of his race, whether in country or city,
than this injunction to the men to take their wives into their
confidence and make them their partners. He recognized that the home
was the basis of all progress and civilization for his race, as well
as all other races, and that the wife and mother is primarily the
conservator of the home.

One of the stops of the trip was at a little hamlet called Damascus.
Here, in characteristic fashion, he told the people how much richer
they were in soil and all natural advantages than were the inhabitants
of the original Damascus in the Holy Land. He then argued that having
these great natural advantages, much was to be expected of them, etc.
Like all great preachers, teachers, and leaders of men he seized upon
the names, incidents, and conditions immediately about him and from
them drew lessons of fundamental import and universal application.

The efforts of the Negro farmers on these trips to get a word of
approval from their great leader were often pathetic. One old man had
a good breed of pigs of which he was particularly proud. He contrived
to be found feeding them beside the road just as the great man and his
party were passing. The simple ruse succeeded. Mr. Washington and his
companions stopped and every one admired the proud and excited old
man's pigs. And then after the pigs had been duly admired, he led them
to a rough plank table upon which he had displayed in tremulous
anticipation of this dramatic moment a huge pumpkin, some perfectly
developed ears of corn, and a lusty cabbage. After these objects had
also been admired the old man decoyed the party into the little
whitewashed cottage where his wife had her hour of triumph in
displaying her jars of preserves, pickles, cans of vegetables, dried
fruits, and syrup together with quilts and other needlework all
carefully arranged for this hoped-for inspection.

The basic teaching of all these tours was: "Make your own little
heaven right here and now. Do it by putting business methods into your
farming, by growing things in your garden the year around, by building
and keeping attractive and comfortable homes for your children so they
will stay at home and not go to the cities, by keeping your bodies and
your surroundings clean, by staying in one place, by getting a good
teacher and a good preacher, by building a good school and church, by
letting your wife be your partner in all you do, by keeping out of
debt, by cultivating friendly relations with your neighbors both white
and black."

Mr. Washington was constantly bringing up in the Tuskegee faculty
meetings cases of distress among the colored people of the county,
which he had personally discovered while off hunting or riding, and
planning ways and means to relieve them. Apparently it never occurred
to him that technically, at least, the fate of these poor persons was
not his affair nor that of his school. At one such meeting he told of
having come upon while hunting a tumbledown cabin in the woods, within
it a half-paralyzed old Negro obviously unable to care for his simple
wants. Mr. Washington had stopped, built a fire in his stove, and
otherwise made him comfortable temporarily, but some provision for the
old man's care must be made at once. One of the teachers knew about
the old man and stated that he had such an ugly temper that he had
driven off his wife, son, and daughter who had until recently lived
with him and taken care of him. The young teacher seemed to feel that
the old man had brought his troubles upon his own head and so deserved
little sympathy. Mr. Washington would not for a moment agree to this.
He replied that if the old fellow was so unfortunate as to have a bad
temper as well as his physical infirmities that was no reason why he
should be allowed to suffer privation. He delegated one of the
teachers to look up the old man's family at once and see if they
could be prevailed upon to support him and to report at the next
meeting what had been arranged. In the meantime he would send some one
out to the cabin daily to take him food and attend to his wants.

At another faculty meeting he brought up the plight of an old woman
who was about to be evicted from her little shack on the outskirts of
the town because of her inability to pay the nominal rent which she
was charged. He arranged to have her rent paid out of a sum of money
which he always had included in the school budget for the relief of
such cases. In such ways he was constantly impressing upon his
associates the idea that was ever a mainspring of his own
life--namely, that it was always and everywhere the duty of the more
fortunate to help the less fortunate.

While he was sometimes severe with his more prosperous and better
educated associates he was always considerate and thoughtful of the
ignorant, the old, and the weak. He was never too busy to delight the
heart of a white-haired old man who had been the original cook of the
school by listening to his stories about the early days, or to discuss
with another old man his experiences in the Civil War. He would never
betray the least impatience in listening to these old men tell him the
same story for the five hundredth time. Although the real usefulness
of both these old fellows had long passed he never showed them by word
or deed that he did not regard them as useful and valuable members of
his staff.

Another old character to whom he invariably showed kindness and
patience was a crack-brained old itinerant preacher who kept up an
endless stream of unintelligible pious jargon. This old fellow would
harangue the air for hours at a time right outside the Principal's
busy office, but he would never allow him to be stopped or sent away
and always sent or gave him a small contribution at the conclusion of
his tirades, if indeed they could be said to have any conclusion.

Booker Washington had a weakness for the picturesque ne'er-do-wells of
his race. One such old fellow, who lived near Tuskegee and who had
always displayed great ingenuity in extracting money from him, one
day, when he was driving down the main street of Tuskegee behind a
pair of fast and spirited horses, rushed out into the street and
stopped him as though he had a matter of the greatest urgency to
impart to him. When Mr. Washington had with difficulty reined in his
horses and asked him what he wanted the old man said breathlessly,
"I'se got a tirkey for yo' Thanksgivin'!"

"How much does it weigh?" inquired Mr. Washington.

"Twelve to fifteen poun'."

After thanking the old man warmly, Mr. Washington started to drive on
when the old fellow added, "I jest wants to borrow a dollar for to
fatten yo' turkey for you!"

With a laugh Mr. Washington handed the old man the dollar and drove
on. He never could be made to feel that by these spontaneous
generosities he was encouraging thriftlessness and mendicancy. He was
incorrigible in his unscientific open-handedness with the poor,
begging older members of his race.

At the time of the Tuskegee teachers' annual picnic, usually held in
May, many of these old colored people would attend uninvited and armed
with huge empty baskets. Mr. Washington always greeted them like
honored guests and allowed them to carry off provisions enough to feed
large families for days. He would also introduce them to the officers
and teachers of the school and to any invited guests who might be

Old man Harry Varner was the night watchman of the school in its early
days and a man upon whom Mr. Washington very much depended. He lived
in a cabin opposite the school grounds. After hearing many talks about
the importance of living in a real house instead of a one or two room
cabin, old Uncle Harry finally decided that he must have a real house.
Accordingly he came to his employer, told him his feeling in the
matter, and laid before him his meagre savings, which he had
determined to spend for a real house. Mr. Washington went with him to
select the lot and added enough out of his own pocket to the scant
savings to enable the old man to buy a cow and a pig and a garden plot
as well as the house. From then on for weeks he and old Uncle Harry
would have long and mysterious conferences over the planning of that
little four-room cottage. It is doubtful if Dr. Washington ever
devoted more time or thought to planning any of the great buildings of
the Institute. No potentate was ever half as proud of his palace as
Uncle Harry of his four-room cottage when it was finally finished and
painted and stood forth in all its glory to be admired of all men. And
Booker Washington was scarcely less proud of it than Uncle Harry.

With Uncle Harry Varner, Old Man Brannum, the original cook of the
school to whom reference has already been made, and Lewis Adams of the
town of Tuskegee, whom Mr. Washington mentions in "Up from Slavery" as
one of his chief advisers, all unlettered-before-the-war Negroes, his
relationship was always particularly intimate. These three old men
enjoyed the confidence of the white people of the town of Tuskegee to
an unusual extent and often acted as ambassadors of good-will between
the head of the school and his white neighbors when from time to time
the latter showed a disposition to look askance at the rapidly growing
institution on the hill beyond the town.

Another intimate friend of Mr. Washington's was Charles L. Diggs,
known affectionately on the school grounds as "Old Man Diggs." The old
man had been body servant to a Union officer in the Civil War and
after the war had been carried to Boston, where he became the butler
in a fashionable Back Bay family. When Mr. Washington first visited
Boston, as an humble and obscure young Negro school teacher pleading
for his struggling school, he met Diggs, and Diggs succeeded in
interesting his employers in the sincere and earnest young Negro
teacher. When years afterward the Institute had grown to the dignity
of needing stewards, Mr. Washington employed his old friend as steward
of the Teachers' Home. In all the years thereafter hardly a day passed
when Mr. Washington was at the school without his having some kind of
powwow with Old Man Diggs regarding some matter affecting the
interests of the school.

To the despair of his family Booker Washington seemed to go out of his
way to find forlorn old people whom he could befriend. He sent
provisions weekly to an humble old black couple from whom he had
bought a tract of land for the school. He did the same for old Aunt
Harriet and her deaf, dumb, and lame son, except that to them he
provided fuel as well. On any particularly cold day he would send one
or more students over to Aunt Harriet's to find out if she and her
poor helpless son were comfortable. Also every Sunday afternoon, to
the joy of this pathetic couple, a particularly appetizing Sunday
dinner unfailingly made its appearance. And these were only a few of
the pensioners and semi-pensioners whom Booker Washington accumulated
as he went about his kindly way.

One means of keeping in touch with the masses of his people which he
never neglected was through attending the annual National Negro
Baptist Conventions. At these great gatherings he came in touch with
the religious leaders of two million Negroes. Notwithstanding the fact
that he practically collapsed at the annual meeting of the National
Negro Business League held in Boston in August, 1915, and had to be
nursed for some weeks following before he was even strong enough to
return to Tuskegee, he insisted in spite of the admonitions of
physicians and the pleadings of friends, family, and colleagues, in
keeping his engagement to speak before this great convention in
Chicago in September. To all protests he replied, "It would do me more
harm to stay away than to go." With these words, and rallying the
rapidly waning dregs of his once great strength he went and made an
address which ranks with the most powerful he ever delivered to his
people. A threatened split in the Baptist denomination in part
accounted for his insistence upon attending this convention. In this
address, delivered only two months before he died of sheer exhaustion,
and the last he made before any great body of his own people, he said
in part:

"My only excuse for accepting your invitation to appear before you in
these annual gatherings is that I am deeply interested in all that
this National Baptist Convention stands for. It is in my opinion the
largest and most representative body of colored people anywhere in the
world.... I believe most profoundly in the work of this convention
because it represents the common masses of all our people, those who
are the foundation of our success as a race. I believe in you because
you do not pretend to represent the classes but the masses of our
people. I am here, too, because the Baptist Church among our people
throughout the country is affording them an opportunity to get lessons
in self-government in a degree that is true of few other

"You who control this great convention have before you a great
opportunity and along with this opportunity a tremendous
responsibility. It is given to you, as to all men, to pursue one of
two courses, and that is, to be big leaders or little leaders. You can
construct or you can destroy. The time is now at hand when in each
individual church organization and each district association and each
State convention and in this great national convention, the little man
must give way and let the big, broad, generous man take his place.
Nothing is ever gained in business, in education, or in religious work
by being little, narrow, or jealous in our sympathies and activities."

Two days later, after he had left the convention and returned home,
Mr. Washington received word that the convention had split, contending
leaders holding out for what they termed principles. Immediately on
the receipt of this report he dispatched the following telegram to the
leaders of the two opposing factions:

     I earnestly beg and urge that each convention remain in
     session until all differences are composed. In the event
     this cannot be done I hope each convention will empower a
     small committee or authorize some one to appoint committees
     that may have power in settling present difficulties so that
     next year there may be but one convention. It is easier now
     to bring about reconciliation than it will be later. It will
     be a calamity to the Baptist Church and to our race for the
     present split to continue. It will soon spread to all the
     Baptist churches in all the States. I would urge that each
     side manifest a broad liberal spirit and be willing to
     sacrifice something for the good of the cause. Millions of
     our humble people throughout the country are depending upon
     our leaders to settle their difficulties in a Christian
     spirit and they should not be disappointed. If I may be used
     at any time in any way my services are at your command. Have
     sent a similar telegram to Dr. ----.


Unhappily he did not have the satisfaction of bringing the two
factions together before he died, but until the last he continued his
efforts in this direction.

Largely because of his intimate knowledge of the plain people Booker
Washington appealed to the great of the earth. In his books, "Up from
Slavery," "The Story of My Life and Work," and "My Larger Education,"
he tells of taking tea with Queen Victoria at Windsor Castle, of his
association with Presidents McKinley, Roosevelt, and Taft, of his
introduction to Prince Henry of Prussia, of his dining with the King
and Queen of Denmark, and of his long friendships with William H.
Baldwin, Jr., Robert C. Ogden, Henry H. Rogers, John D. Rockefeller,
and Andrew Carnegie. He was of value and interest to such people
largely because of his closeness to his own people. His power to
interest such people was largely because he was so close to the rank
and file of his own people.

After the death of Henry H. Rogers, Mr. Washington said of him in an
interview published at the time in the New York _Evening Post_: "The
more experiences I have of the world, the more I am convinced that
the only proper and the only safe way to judge any one is at first
hand and by your actual experience. It seems to me that, outside of
the immediate members of my family, I knew the late Henry H. Rogers
during the last fifteen years as well as I could know any one. Of all
the men that I have ever known intimately, no matter what their
station in life, Mr. Rogers always impressed me as being among the
kindest and gentlest. That was the impression he made upon me the
first time I ever met him, and during the fifteen years that I knew
him that impression was deepened every time I met him." (And this was
Booker Washington's impression of the second greatest figure in the
building up of the huge, world-powerful corporation whose methods
during its period of rapid expansion had at that time been only
recently described in _McClure's Magazine_ by Ida M. Tarbell.) "I am
sure that the members of his family will forgive me for telling, now
that he has laid down his great work and gone to rest, some things
about him which I feel that the public should know but which he always
forbade me to mention while he lived.

"The first time I ever met Mr. Rogers was in this manner: about
fifteen years ago a large meeting was held in Madison Square Garden
concert hall, to obtain funds for the Tuskegee Institute. Mr. Rogers
attended the meeting, but came so late that, as the auditorium was
crowded, he could not get a seat. He stood in the back part of the
hall, however, and listened to the speaking.

"The next morning I received a telegram from him asking me to call at
his office. When I entered he remarked that he had been present at the
meeting the night previous, and expected the 'hat to be passed,' but
as that was not done he wanted to 'chip in' something. Thereupon he
handed me ten one-thousand-dollar bills for the Tuskegee Institute. In
doing this he imposed only one condition, that the gift should be
mentioned to no one. Later on, however, when I told him that I did not
care to take so large a sum of money without some one knowing it, he
consented that I tell one or two of our Trustees about the source of
the gift. I cannot now recall the number of times that he has helped
us, but in doing so he always insisted that his name be never used. He
seemed to enjoy making gifts in currency."

In an article published in _McClure's Magazine_ in May, 1902,
Rear-Admiral Robley D. Evans thus describes the occasion on which he
presented Booker Washington to Prince Henry of Prussia: "The first
request made by Prince Henry, after being received in New York, was
that I should arrange to give him some of the old Southern melodies,
if possible, sung by Negroes; that he was passionately fond of them,
and had been all his life--not the ragtime songs, but the old Negro
melodies. Several times during his trip I endeavored to carry out his
wishes, with more or less success; but finally, at the Waldorf-Astoria,
the Hampton singers presented themselves in one of the reception rooms
and gave him a recital of Indian and Negro melodies. He was charmed.
And while I was talking to him, just after a Sioux Indian had sung a
lullaby, he suddenly turned and said: 'Isn't that Booker T. Washington
over there?' I recognized Washington and replied that it was, and he
said: 'Evans, would you mind presenting him to me? I know how some of
your people feel about Washington, but I have always had great
sympathy with the African race, and I want to meet the man I regard as
the leader of that race.' So I went at once to Washington and told him
that the Prince wished him to be presented, and took him, myself, and
presented him to the Prince. Booker Washington sat down and talked
with him for fully ten minutes, and it was a most interesting
conversation, one of the most interesting I ever heard in my life. The
ease with which Washington conducted himself was very striking, and I
only accounted for it afterward when I remembered that he had dined
with the Queen of England two or three times, so that this was not a
new thing for him. Indeed, Booker Washington's manner was easier than
that of almost any other man I saw meet the Prince in this country.
The Prince afterward referred to President Roosevelt's action in
regard to Booker Washington, and applauded it very highly."

In 1911 Mr. Washington visited Denmark with the particular purpose of
observing the world-famed agricultural methods of that country. While
in Copenhagen he was presented to the King and Queen. This experience
he described on his return to this country in an article published in
the New York _Age_, the well-known Negro paper, in December of the
same year. The portion of the article describing his meeting with the
King and Queen reads as follows:

     "Soon after I entered, the Chamberlain went in and presently
     returned to tell me the King would be ready to see me in
     about five minutes. At the end of the five minutes exactly
     the door was opened and I found myself in the King's
     chamber. I had expected to see a gorgeously fitted
     apartment, something to compare with what I had seen
     elsewhere in the palace. Imagine my surprise when I found
     practically nothing in the room except the King, himself.
     There was not a chair, a sofa, or, so far as I can recall, a
     single thing in the way of furniture--nothing except the
     King and his sword. I was surprised again, considering the
     formality by which he was surrounded, by the familiar and
     kindly manner in which the King received me, and by his
     excellent English. Both of us remained standing during the
     whole interview, which must have lasted twenty minutes. I
     say we remained standing, because, even had etiquette
     permitted it we could not have done anything else because
     there was nothing in the room for either of us to sit upon.

     "I had been warned by the American Minister and Mr. Cavling,
     however, as to what might be the result of this interview.
     Among other things in regard to which I had been carefully
     instructed by the American Minister was I must never turn my
     back upon the King, that I must not lead off in any
     conversation, that I must let the King suggest the subjects
     to be discussed, and not take the initiative in raising any
     question for discussion. I tried to follow Minister Egan's
     instructions in this regard as well as I could, but I fear I
     was not wholly successful.

     "I had not been talking with the King many minutes before I
     found that he was perfectly familiar with the work of the
     Tuskegee school, that he had read much that I had written,
     and was well acquainted with all that I was trying to do for
     the Negroes in the South. He referred to the fact that
     Denmark was interested in the colored people in their own
     colony in the Danish West Indies, and that both he and the
     Queen were anxious that something be done for the colored
     people in the Danish possessions similar to what we were
     doing at Tuskegee. He added that he hoped at some time I
     would find it possible to visit the Danish West Indian

     "As I have said, I had been warned as to what might be the
     result of this visit to the King and that I had best be
     careful how I made my plans for the evening. As the
     interview was closing, the King took me by the hand and
     said, 'The Queen would be pleased to have you dine at the
     palace to-night,' at the same time naming the hour.

     "The Minister had told me that this was his way of
     commanding persons to dine, and that an invitation given
     must be obeyed. Of course I was delighted to accept the
     invitation, though I feared it would wreck my plans for
     seeing the country people. The King was so kind and put me
     so at my ease in his presence that I fear I forgot Minister
     Eagan's warning not to turn my back upon him, and I must
     confess that I got out of the room in about the same way I
     usually go out of the room when I have had an audience with
     President Taft.

     "Leaving the King and the palace, I found out on the street
     quite a group of newspaper people, most of them representing
     American papers, who were very anxious to know, in the usual
     American fashion, just what took place during the interview,
     how long I was with the King, what we talked about, and what
     not. They were especially anxious to know if I had been
     invited to the palace for dinner."

And further on he thus describes the dinner:

     "The dinner was not at the palace where I was received in
     the morning, but at the summer palace several miles out of
     Copenhagen. When I reached the hotel from the country it
     soon dawned upon me that I was in great danger of being
     late. To keep a King and Queen and their guests waiting on
     one for dinner would of course be an outrageous offense. I
     dressed as hastily as I was able, but just as I was putting
     on the finishing touches to my costume my white tie bursted.
     I was in a predicament from which for a moment I saw no
     means of rescuing myself. I did not have time to get another
     tie, and of course I could not wear the black one. As well
     as I could, however, I put the white tie about my neck,
     fastened it with a pin, and earnestly prayed that it might
     remain in decent position until the dinner was over.
     Nevertheless, I trembled all through the dinner for fear
     that my tie might go back on me.

     "I succeeded in reaching the summer palace about ten minutes
     before the time to go into the dining-room. Here again I was
     met by the King's Chamberlain by whom I was conveyed through
     a series of rooms and, finally, into the presence of the
     King, who, after some conversation, led me where the Queen
     was standing and presented me to her. The Queen received me
     graciously and even cordially. She spoke English perfectly,
     and seemed perfectly familiar with my work. I had, however,
     a sneaking idea that Minister Egan was responsible for a
     good deal of the familiarity which both the King and Queen
     seemed to exhibit regarding Tuskegee.

     "As I entered the reception-room there were about twenty or
     twenty-five people who were to be entertained at dinner. I
     will not attempt to describe the elegance, not to say
     splendor, of everything in connection with the dinner. As I
     ate food for the first time in my life out of gold dishes, I
     could not but recall the time when as a slave boy I ate my
     syrup from a tin plate.

     "I think I got through the dinner pretty well by following
     my usual custom, namely, of watching other people to see
     just what they did and what they did not do. There was one
     place, however, where I confess I made a failure. It is
     customary at the King's table, as is true at other functions
     in many portions of Europe, I understand, to drink a silent
     toast to the King. This was so new and strange to me that I
     decided that, since I did not understand the custom, the
     best thing was to frankly confess my ignorance. I reassured
     myself with the reflection that people will easier pardon
     ignorance than pretense.

     "At a certain point during the dinner each guest is
     expected, it seems, to get the eye of the King and then rise
     and drink to the health of the King. When he rises he makes
     a bow to the King and the King returns the bow. Nothing is
     said by either the King or the guest. I think practically
     all the invited guests except myself went through this
     performance. It seemed to me a very fitting way of
     expressing respect for the King, as the head of a nation and
     as a man, and now that I know something about it, I think if
     I had another chance I could do myself credit in that

     "During the dinner I had the privilege of meeting a very
     interesting old gentleman, now some eighty years of age, the
     uncle of the King, Prince ----, who spoke good English. I
     had a very interesting conversation with him, and since
     returning to America I have had some correspondence with

     "As I have already said, the Queen Mother of England was at
     this time in Copenhagen, and as I afterward learned, her
     sister, the Queen Mother of Russia, was also there. As both
     of these were in mourning on account of the recent death of
     King Edward, they did not appear at this dinner. I was
     reminded of their presence, however, when as I was leaving
     the King's palace after my interview in the morning, one of
     the marshals presented me with two autograph books, with the
     request that I inscribe my name in them. One of the books,
     as I afterward learned, belonged to the Queen Mother of
     England; the other belonged to the Queen Mother of Russia."

A mere catalogue of the principal organizations which Booker T.
Washington founded for the purpose of helping his people to help
themselves tells a story of constructive achievement more impressive
than any amount of abstract eulogy.

The following is a list of such organizations given in chronological
order with a few words of description for the purpose of identifying

In 1884 he founded the Teachers' Institute, consisting of summer
courses, conferences, and exhibits having as their main purpose the
extension of the advantages of Tuskegee Institute to the country
school teachers of the surrounding country. The work of this Institute
is described in the chapter: "Washington, the Educator."

In 1891 he established the Annual Tuskegee Negro Conference. He
decided that the school should not only help directly its own
students, but should reach out and help the students' parents and the
older people generally in the country districts of the State. He
started by inviting the farmers and their wives in the immediate
locality to spend a day at the school for the frank discussion of
their material and spiritual condition to the end that the school
might learn how it could best help them to help themselves. From this
simple beginning the Conference has grown until it now consists of
delegates from every Southern State, besides hundreds of teachers and
principals of Negro schools, Northern men and women, publicists and
philanthropists, newspaper and magazine writers, Southern white men
and Southern white women, all interested in helping the simple black
folk in their strivings to "quit libin' in de ashes," as one of them
fervently expressed it. At one of these conferences an old preacher
from a country district concluded an earnest prayer for the
deliverance of his people from the bondage of ignorance with this
startling sentence: "And now, O Lord, put dy foot down in our hearts
and lif' us up!"

The year following Mr. Washington established a hospital in Greenwood
village, the hamlet adjoining the Institute grounds where live most of
the teachers, officers, and employees. It was at first hardly more
than a dispensary, but when the Institute acquired a Resident
Physician two small buildings were set aside as hospitals for men and
women, respectively. Later a five-thousand-dollar building was given
which served as the hospital until, in 1913, Mrs. Elizabeth A. Mason,
of Boston, presented Tuskegee with a fifty-thousand-dollar splendidly
equipped modern hospital, in memory of her grandfather, John A.
Andrew, the War Governor of Massachusetts. While these hospitals, from
the first humble dispensary to the fine hospital of to-day, were of
course primarily for the Institute they were in true Tuskegee fashion
thrown open to all who needed them. And since the town of Tuskegee has
no hospital they have always been freely used by outside colored
people. Mr. Washington, himself, on his riding and hunting trips would
from time to time find sick people whom he would have brought to the
hospital for care.

The next year, 1893, he started the Minister's Night School. This is
conducted by the Phelps Hall Bible Training School of the Institute.
Here country ministers with large families and small means are given
night courses in all the subjects likely to be of service to them from
"Biblical criticism" to the "planting and cultivating of crops."

The year following Mrs. Washington began the Tuskegee Town Mothers'
Meetings. Both she and Mr. Washington had long been distressed at
seeing the women and young girls loafing about the streets of the town
of Tuskegee when they came to town with their husbands and fathers on
Saturday afternoons. Now, instead of loafing about the streets these
women attend the Mothers' Meetings where Mrs. Washington and the
various women teachers give them practical talks on all manner of
housekeeping and family-raising problems from the making of preserves
to proper parental care.

In 1895 the Building and Loan Association was established. The
Institute's chief accountant is its president, and the Institute's
treasurer its secretary and treasurer. This Association has enabled
many scores of people to secure their own homes who without its aid
could not have done so.

The next year the Town Night School was started. This school has as
its purpose giving instruction to the boys and girls who have
positions in the town which make it impossible for them to attend the
Institute, and to the servants in the white families. This school has
become one of the best and strongest forces in the life of the
community. As an outgrowth of it came later the Town Library and
Reading Room, for which Mr. Washington personally provided the room.
There is now in this school a cooking class for girls and several
industrial classes for boys. At the same time Mr. Washington
established a Farmers' Institute which is described in the chapter
"Washington and the Negro Farmer."

In 1898 he started a County Fair to spur the ambition of the Negro
farmers of the county. This Negro County Fair under his guidance grew
and flourished from year to year. The whites maintained a separate
County Fair. Finally the two fairs were combined, and now one of the
most flourishing County Fairs in all the South is conducted, both
races supporting it by making exhibits, and sharing in the success and
profits of the enterprise, as well as in its general management.

In 1900 he organized the National Negro Business League, as described
in the chapter, "Washington and the Negro Business Man."

Two years later he established the Greenwood Village Improvement
Association for the little community which has grown up around the
school. Taxes are collected from the property holders as well as the
renters for the upkeep of the roads, bridges, and fences, and a park
in the centre of the village, which was introduced in emulation of the
typical New England village. Just as in New England, also, this
central park, or "green," is surrounded by a number of churches. An
elective Board of Control presides over this village, settles
disputes, and keeps the community in good repair morally and
spiritually, as well as physically. On the Monday immediately
following the close of a regular school term a town meeting is held at
which reports are read and discussed covering every phase of the life
of the community. Mr. Washington particularly enjoyed presiding at
these meetings because they demonstrated what the people of his race
could accomplish under a favorable and stimulating environment. He
always contrived to have the meetings followed by simple refreshments
and a social hour.

In 1904 he started the Rural School Improvement Campaign and the
Farmers' Short Course at the Institute, both of which are described in
the chapter, "Washington, the Educator." In the same year he started a
systematic effort to improve the conditions in the jails and the chain
gangs and for the rehabilitation of released prisoners.

The next year he founded a weekly farm paper, a circulating library,
and a Ministers' Institute. The year after, 1906, the Jesup
Agricultural Wagon--the agricultural school on wheels, which is
described in the chapter, "Washington, the Educator"--was started. In
1907 the farmers' coöperative demonstration work, which has also been
mentioned, was inaugurated. In 1910 the rural improvement speaking
tours began. And finally, in 1914, he established "Baldwin Farms," the
farming community for the graduates of the agricultural department of
Tuskegee, which also has been previously described.

These, then, are some of the tangible means which Booker Washington
developed during a period of thirty years for keeping in touch with
his people and for keeping his people in touch with one another and
with all the things which go to make up wholesome and useful living.



Booker T. Washington was a great believer in the experience meeting,
and the Tuskegee Negro Conference, which he started in 1891, is
nothing more nor less than an agricultural experience meeting. He
placed his faith in the persuasive power of example--in the contagion
of successful achievement. He once said: "One farm bought, one house
built, one home sweetly and intelligently kept, one man who is the
largest taxpayer or has the largest bank account, one school or church
maintained, one factory running successfully, one truck garden
profitably cultivated, one patient cured by a Negro doctor, one sermon
well preached, one office well filled, one life cleanly lived--these
will tell more in our favor than all the abstract eloquence that can
be summoned to plead our cause. Our pathway must be up through the
soil, up through swamps, up through forests, up through the streams,
the rocks, up through commerce, education, and religion."

Nothing delighted Mr. Washington more than the successful Negro
farmers who had started in life without money, friends, influence, or
education--with literally nothing but their hands. At one of the
Tuskegee conferences not many years ago his keen eyes spotted such a
man in the audience and he called to him in his straight from the
shoulder manner: "Get up and tell us what you have been doing as a

A tall, finely built, elderly man, looking almost like a Nubian giant,
arose in his place, his face wreathed in smiles, and showing his white
teeth as he spoke: "Doctor, I done 'tended one o' yore conferences
here 'bout ten year ago. I heard you say dat a man ain't wurth nuthin'
as a man or a citizen 'less he owns his home, 'least one mule, and has
a bank account, an' so I made up my mind dat I warn't wuth nuthin',
an' so I went home an' talked de whole matter over wid de ol' woman.
We decided dat we would make a start, an' now I's proud to tell you
dat I's not only got a bank account, but I's got two bank accounts,
an' heah's de bank books (proudly holding on high two grimy bank
books); I also own two hun'ed acres of land an' all de land is paid
for. I also own two mules, an' bofe dem mules is paid for. I also own
some other property, an' de ole woman an' me an' de chilluns lives in
a good house an' de house is paid for. All dis come 'bout from my
comin' to dis heah conference."

Another old fellow, when called upon to tell what he had accomplished,
dexterously evaded the direct inquiry for some minutes, and when Mr.
Washington finally succeeded in pinning him down, said: "All I's got
to say, Doctah Washington, is dat dis heah conference dun woke me up
an' I'll be back heah next year wid a report jist like dese oder

Mr. Washington was a great believer in his favorite animal, the pig,
as a mortgage lifter and general aid to prosperity. At one of the
conferences, after he had paid a particularly warm eulogy to the
economic importance of the pig, an old woman got up and said: "Mr.
Washington, you is got befo' you now Sister Nelson of Tallapoosa
County, Alabama. All I has I owes to dis conference and one little
puppy dog."

Mr. Washington challenged: "How's that?"

The old woman continued: "I got a little pig from dat little puppy dog
an' I got my prosperity from dat pig!"

Mr. Washington and the whole company in amazement hung upon the old
woman's words as she continued: "It was dis way: Dat little puppy dog
when she growed up had some little puppies herself. One day one o' my
fren's come by an' as' me for one o' dem puppies. I tol' him 'No,' I
would not gib him dat puppy, but dat he had a little pig an' I would
'change a puppy for a pig. I had heard you tell ober heah so much
'bout hogs an' pigs dat I thought dis was a good chance to get
started. He give me de pig an' I give him de puppy. In de course o'
time dat little pig dun bring me in some mo' pigs. I sol' some an'
kep' some. I had to feed de pig, so I had begun savin'. I den begun to
find out dat I could git on wid less den I had ben gettin' on wid, an'
so I kep' on savin' an' kep' on raisin' pigs 'til I was able to supply
most o' my neighbors wid pigs, an' den I got me a cow, an den I begun
to supply my neighbors wid milk, an' den I started me a little garden.
Den I sol' my neighbors greens an' onions, an' so I went on fum time
to time 'til I dun paid for de lot an' de house in which I lib, an' I
keeps my pigs about me an' keeps my garden goin', an' dat's why I says
all I is I owes to dat little puppy dog an' to dis heah conference."

At these conferences the most elementary subjects are discussed.
Booker Washington would tell and have told to these farmers matters
which one would naturally assume any farmers, however ignorant, must
already know. He never tried to deceive himself as to the woful
ignorance of the Negro masses, and still he was never discouraged, but
always said ignorance was not a hopeless handicap because it could be
overcome by education. While he frankly although sadly acknowledged
the lamentable ignorance of the rank and file of his race,
particularly those on the soil and dependent for education upon the
short-term, ill-equipped, and poorly taught rural Negro school, he as
stoutly denied and constantly disproved the assertion that these
ignorant masses were not capable of profiting by education. He
earnestly strove and signally succeeded in attracting to these great
annual agricultural conferences the most pathetically ignorant of the
Negro farmers as well as the leading scientific agriculturists of the
race. But he always insisted that the meetings be conducted for the
benefit of the ignorant and not in the interests of the learned.

He would, for instance, tell the attendants at the conferences what to
plant and when to plant it, and what live stock to keep and how to
keep it. He would have printed and distributed among them a "Farmer's
Calendar" which gave the months in which the various standard
vegetables should be planted and what crops should be used in
rotation. He constantly insisted that the Experiment Station at
Tuskegee Institute, supported by the State of Alabama, should not be
used for scientific experiments of interest only to experts, but
should deal with the fundamental problems with which the Negro farmers
of Alabama were daily confronted. The titles of some of the Experiment
Station Bulletins selected at random suggest the homely and practical
nature of the information disseminated. Half a dozen of them read as
follows: "Possibilities of the Sweet Potato in Macon County, Alabama,"
"How to Grow the Peanut and 105 Ways of Preparing It for Human
Consumption," "How to Raise Pigs with Little Money," "When, What, and
How to Can and Preserve Fruits and Vegetables in the Home," "Some
Possibilities of the Cowpea in Macon County, Alabama," "A New and
Prolific Variety of Cotton." And all of these bulletins, so many of
which deal with the problems of the home, are written by an old
bachelor of pure African descent, without a drop of white blood, who
in himself refutes two popular fallacies: the one that bachelors
cannot be skilled in domestic affairs, and the other, that
pure-blooded Africans cannot achieve intellectual distinction. This
man is George W. Carver, who is not only the most eminent agricultural
scientist of his race in this country, but one of the most eminent of
any race. His work is so well known in scientific circles in his field
throughout the world that when leading European scientists visit this
country, particularly the Southern States, they not infrequently go
out of their way to look him up. They are usually very much surprised
to find their eminent fellow-scientist a black man.

The last of these conferences over which Booker Washington presided
was held at Tuskegee, January 20 and 21, 1915. A woman, the wife of a
Negro farmer, was testifying when she said: "Our menfolks is foun' out
dat they can't eat cotton." As the outburst of laughter which greeted
this remark died down, Mr. Washington said in his incisive way: "What
do you mean?" The woman replied: "I mean dat we womenfolks been
tellin' our menfolks all de time dat they should raise mo to eat."

She then displayed specimens of canned fruits and told how she had put
up enough of them to supply her family until summer. She told of
having sold thirty-six turkeys and of selling two and three dozen eggs
each week, with plenty left over for her family. She said that she and
her husband had raised and sold hogs, and still had for their own use
more than enough pork to last them until the next hog-killing time.

"How often do you eat chicken?" asked Dr. Washington.

"We can eat chicken every day if we want it," she replied.

When she had finished Mr. Washington explained that all this had been
done on 178 acres of the poorest land in Macon County.

In his opening address at this conference Mr. Washington denounced
"petty thieving, pistol-toting, crap-shooting, the patronizing of
'blind tigers,' and unnecessary lawsuits" as some of the weights and
encumbrances which are keeping the Negro from running well the race
which is set before him.

These are some of the basic questions which Booker Washington placed
before the conference for discussion:

"How and why am I so hard hit by the present hard times?"

"What am I doing to meet present conditions?"

"How may I, after all, get some real benefit from present

The most spectacular feature of the exercises was the parade. It
extended for almost a mile and included a score or more of floats,
hundreds of men and women in appropriate costumes, and dozens of
horses, mules, and other live stock.

There were a large number of colored preachers in attendance who
showed that they had adopted the Washington slogan of trying to make a
heaven on earth and whose testimony showed that they were now giving
as much time to soil salvation as to soul salvation. One of them told
of a flourishing Pig Club which he had organized among his
parishioners after reading Mr. Washington's open letter, "Pigs and
Education; Pigs and Debts," the circulating of which will be later

[Illustration: This old woman was a regular attendant at the Tuskegee
Negro Conference and idolizingly watched Mr. Washington during the
whole four hours that he would preside over one of the Conference

After the awarding of prizes for the best floats the declarations of
the conference were read by Major R.R. Moton of Hampton Institute, who
then little realized that before the year was out he was to be chosen
to succeed the leader of his race as the Principal of Tuskegee

The following were the especially significant paragraphs of these

"It is found that for every dollar's worth of cotton we grow, we raise
only forty-nine cents' worth of all other crops. An investigation has
shown that there are 20,000 farms of Negroes on which there are no
cattle of any kind; 270,000 on which there are no hogs; 200,000 on
which no poultry is raised; 140,000 on which no corn is grown; on
750,000 farms of Negroes no oats are grown; on 550,000 farms no sweet
potatoes are grown, and on 320,000 farms of Negroes there are no
gardens of any sort. These hundreds of thousands of farms without
cattle, grain, or gardens are for the most part operated by tenants.
In their behalf, the Tuskegee Negro Conference respectfully requests
of the planters, bankers, and other representatives of the financial
interests of the South that more opportunities be given Negro tenants
on plantations to grow crops other than cotton."

After the regular conference the usual Conference of Workers was held.
This conference is composed of people such as heads of schools and
colleges, preachers, teachers, and persons generally holding
responsible positions of leadership in their respective communities.
These leaders discuss the larger community problems in distinction
from individual problems. At this gathering, for instance, the
principal of the County High School at Cottage Grove, Ala., explained
how through diversified farming the parents of his students had been
able to live while holding their cotton for higher prices.

Some of the principals of schools told how they had accepted cotton as
payment of tuition for some of their students. Others had taken in
payment barrels of syrup, sacks of corn, and hogs. All the schools
reported cutting expenses, by reduction of their dietary, the salaries
of teachers, or some other forms of retrenchment, meaning sacrifice
for students or teachers, or both, that the work of education might
continue and weather the hard times. In concluding the conference
Booker Washington explained the terms of the recently enacted Smith
Lever Act for Federal aid in the extension of agricultural education
throughout the rural districts of the country. Thus ended the
twentieth session of the great Tuskegee Negro Conference and the last
session presided over by the Founder of the Conference. It was most
appropriate that this, his last conference, should have so unanimously
and effectively applied one of the leading tenets of Booker
Washington's teaching--namely, the winning of lasting profit from the
experiences of adversity.

As well as these annual Farmers' Conferences there are held at
Tuskegee monthly meetings for the farmers from the locality where they
display their products, tell of their successes and failures, and
compare notes on their experiences all under the expert leadership,
guidance, and advice of the staff of the agricultural department of
the Institute. Every month, or oftener, there is an agricultural
exhibit in which the best products of the various crops such as
potatoes, corn, and cotton are displayed, and the methods used in
their production explained by figures and graphic charts.

As early as 1895 Booker Washington started a campaign to get his
people to raise more pigs. This campaign he revived at intervals, and
for the last time in the fall of 1914, when the whole country and
particularly the South was suffering from the first acute depression
caused by the European War. In the Southern States this depression
was, of course, especially acute because the European market for
cotton was for the time being cut off. As one of the means to aid his
people in this trying time he sent the following letter to the entire
press of the South of both races:


     _To the Editor:_

     Our race is in constant search of means with which to
     provide better homes, schools, colleges, and churches, and
     with which to pay debts. This is especially true during the
     hard financial conditions obtaining on account of the
     European War. All of this cannot be done at once, but great
     progress can be made by a good strong pull together in a
     simple, direct manner. How?

     There are 1,400,000 colored families who live on farms or in
     villages, or small towns. Of this number, at the present
     time, 700,000 have no pigs. I want to ask that each family
     raise at least one pig this fall. Where one or more pigs are
     already owned, I want to ask that each family raise one
     additional pig this fall.

     As soon as possible, I want to ask that this plan be
     followed by the organization of a Pig Club in every
     community where one does not already exist. I want to ask
     that the matter be taken up at once through families,
     schools, churches, and societies, Farmers' Institutes,
     Business Leagues, etc.

     The average pig is valued at about $5. If each family adds
     only one pig, in a few months at the present price for hogs,
     $10 would be added to the wealth of the owner, and
     $14,000,000 to the wealth of the colored people. If each
     family adds two pigs, it would have in a few months $20 more
     wealth, and $28,000,000 would be added with which to promote
     the welfare of the race during the money stringency created
     by the European War.

     Let us not put it off, but organize Pig Clubs everywhere.
     Give each boy and girl an opportunity to own and grow at
     least one pig.

       Tuskegee Institute, Alabama.

This letter was not only printed by most of the white papers as well
as all of the Negro papers, but it was widely endorsed editorially in
the white as well as the black press. Many of the newspapers for
whites urged that the white farmers also follow the suggestion. The
granges and farmers' institutes of both races took up the appeal and
urged it upon their members. There can be no doubt that through the
publication of this one brief letter, sent out at just the right
psychological moment, Booker Washington materially aided the Southern
farmers of both races to tide over a serious crisis and materially
increased the economic wealth of the entire South. As he well knew,
the people were desperate and panicky and hence ready to follow
almost any lead. In any ordinary state of the public mind such a
letter could have produced nothing like such an influence. This well
illustrated Booker Washington's accurate knowledge of and feeling for
the psychology of the public which enabled him almost without
exception to speak or remain silent at the right times.

Booker Washington was not only interested in black farmers but white
farmers. He always emphasized the responsibility of the farmer as the
builder of the foundations of society. He was constantly inviting the
white farmers of the surrounding country to visit the school and see
what was being done on the school farms and by the Experiment Station.
And the white farmers availed themselves freely of this opportunity
and profited by it. The school's veterinarian is probably the only one
in the county, and this division was established very largely for the
purpose of bringing the school and the community--both white and
black--into closer relation. In dealing with farmers, even more
perhaps than with other classes of people, Washington would appeal to
their pride and even to their vanity. He was fond of telling them that
they were the salt of the earth. One of his favorite stories was about
the farmer who keeps his best potatoes for himself and his family and
sends the speckled ones to town; keeps his tender young chickens and
sends the old tough ones to town; keeps his rich milk and sends his
skimmed milk to town. While there may never have been quite such a
farmer the story had its element of truth, and helped to make the
farmer appreciate his good fortune and his importance in the scheme of

In 1910, when the last Federal Census was taken, 503 Negro farm owners
in Macon County, Booker Washington's home county, owned 61,689 acres,
or an average of more than one hundred and twenty-two and one-half
acres of land per man. This is probably the largest amount of land
owned by the Negroes of any county in the United States. Certainly
this was true at that time. The better class of Negro farmers has
greatly increased during the past thirty years until at present from
90 to 95 per cent. of the 3,800 Negro farmers in the county operate
their own farms either as cash tenants or owners. The increase in the
number of Negroes owning or operating farms has been an important
factor in securing a better quality and variety of food. They have
diversified their crops and raised a larger amount of their own food
supplies, particularly meat and vegetables, and they have produced
more milk, butter, and eggs. It will be seen that Booker Washington's
voice when he reiterated over and over again, "The man who owns the
land will own much else besides," did not fall upon deaf ears.

When Booker Washington came to Macon County and founded Tuskegee
Institute, in 1881, the soil was worn out, and cotton, the chief crop,
was selling for an almost constantly lowering price. Although there
were few counties with a lower yield of cotton per acre, one-quarter
of a bale, over 42 per cent. of the tilled land of the county was
devoted exclusively to this crop. Very little machinery was used in
the farming, the antique scooter plow and hoe being the main reliance.
The soil was rarely tilled more than three or four inches deep. There
was, in fact, a superstition among whites as well as blacks that deep
plowing was injurious to the soil. Two-horse teams were seldom used.
Sub-soiling, fall plowing, fallowing, and rotation of crops were
little known and less practised. The county was producing per capita
per year only about five pounds of butter, four dozen eggs, and less
than three chickens.

The Negroes were with few exceptions shiftless and improvident
plantation laborers and renters. Of the almost 13,000 Negroes in the
county not more than fifty or sixty owned land. They lived almost
exclusively in one-room cabins. Sometimes in addition to the immediate
family there were relatives and friends living and sleeping in this
one room. The common diet of these Negroes was fat pork, corn bread,
and molasses. Many meals consisted of corn bread mixed with salt
water. This, then, was the raw material with which Booker Washington
had to work and from which has been developed, largely through his
influence, one of the most prosperous agricultural counties in the
South--a county which has been heralded in the press as feeding itself
because of the great abundance and variety of its products. In 1910
the per capita production for the county was: 40 gallons of milk, 11
pounds of butter, 7 dozen eggs, and 5 chickens. It must, of course, do
more than this before it will actually feed itself.

Mr. Washington was constantly drumming it into the consciousness of
the Negro farmer that as long as he remained ignorant and improvident
he was sure to be exploited and imposed upon. He used to illustrate
this by the story of the ignorant Negro who after paying a white man
fifty cents a week for six months on a five-dollar loan cheerfully
remarked: "Dat Mr. ---- sho is one fine gen'lman, cause he never has
ast me fo' one cent ob dat principal." It may be surmised that this
type of money lender is not enthusiastic over Negro education.

It is significant of the importance which Booker Washington attached
to agriculture that the first great Federal official whom he invited
to visit the school was the National Secretary of Agriculture. In 1897
he got the Hon. James Wilson, Secretary of Agriculture in President
McKinley's Cabinet, to visit Tuskegee and attend the dedication of the
school's first agricultural building.

Secretary Wilson arrived at night accompanied by Dr. J.L.M. Curry, a
Southerner, a leader of the educational thought of the South, and the
secretary of the John F. Slater Fund Board. The students lined up on
either side of the main thoroughfare through the school grounds with
back of them a great gathering of the farmers from the surrounding
territory and many from a distance. Each one of this great throng was
given a pine torch and all these torches were simultaneously lighted
as Secretary Wilson entered the school grounds. The Secretary and
Doctor Curry, preceded by the Institute Band, rode between these two
great masses of cheering people and flaming torches.

The next day the dedication exercises were held on a specially
constructed platform piled high with the finest specimens of every
product known to that section of the South. On this platform, with the
Secretary and Doctor Curry, were the State Commissioner of Agriculture
and several other high State officials and many other prominent white
citizens. This was the formal launching of the Agricultural Department
of the school. George W. Carver, the full-blooded African and eminent
agricultural scientist, of whom mention has already been made, had
recently been placed in charge of this department. He had come from
the Agricultural Department of Iowa State College, of which Secretary
Wilson had been the head.

The annual budget of this department alone is now nearly fifty
thousand dollars a year, and more than a thousand acres of land are
cultivated under the supervision of the agricultural staff. The modest
building which Secretary Wilson helped to dedicate has long since been
outgrown and the department is now housed in a large, impressive brick
building known as the Millbank Agricultural Building.

Under the provisions of the Smith-Lever Act, passed by Congress in
1914 for the purpose of aiding the States in Agricultural Extension
Work, Booker Washington secured for Tuskegee a portion of the funds
allotted to the State of Alabama for such work. With the aid of these
funds Agricultural Extension Schools have been organized. These
schools are conducted in coöperation with the Agricultural Department
of the Alabama Polytechnic Institute and the farm demonstration work
of the United States Department of Agriculture. They are really a two
days' Short Course in Agriculture carried out to the farmers on their
own farms. These schools have the advantage over the Short Course
given to the farmers on the Institute grounds in that they have the
farmers' problems right before them, to be diagnosed and remedies
applied at once. Through such schools farm instruction is being
carried to the Negroes of every Black Belt County of Alabama.

T.M. Campbell of the Tuskegee Institute, the District Agent in charge
of these Extension Schools for the Negro Farmers of Alabama, reports
that among the subjects taught the men are home gardening, seed
selection, repair of farm tools, the growing of legumes as soil
builders and cover crops, best methods of fighting the boll-weevil,
poultry raising, hog raising, corn raising, and pasture making. The
women are instructed in sewing, cooking, washing and ironing, serving
meals, making beds, and methods for destroying household pests and for
the preservation of health. At all the meetings the names and
addresses of those present are taken for the purpose of following them
up by correspondence from the district agent's office, so that the
benefits of the instruction shall not be lost from one year to
another. The slogan for these Alabama schools is: "Alabama Must Feed
Herself." Practically all the black farmers have shown a pathetic
eagerness to learn and the white farmers and the white demonstration
agents everywhere have heartily coöperated. Churches, schoolhouses,
and courthouses have been placed at the district agent's disposal for
the Extension School session. One of the most hopeful features of the
experiment has been the great interest in this new and better farming
aroused among the boys and girls--an interest which the ordinary rural
school sadly fails even in attempting to arouse. All told throughout
the State 3,872 colored people attended these schools the first year.
The sessions were usually opened by a prayer offered by one of the
rural preachers. In one such prayer the preacher said among other
things: "O Lord, have mercy on dis removable school; may it purmernate
dis whole lan' an' country!" At another meeting, after the workers had
finished a session, some of the leading colored farmers were called on
to speak. One of them opened his remarks with the words: "I ain't no
speaker, but I jes wan' a tell you how much I done been steamilated by
dis my only two days in school!"

A report of one of these schools held recently at Monroeville, Ala.,
reads: "Only subjects with which the rural people are directly
concerned are introduced and stressed by the instructors, such as
pasture making, necessary equipment for a one and two horse farm, care
of farm tools, crop rotation, hog raising, care of the cow, seed
selection, diversified farming, how to make homemade furniture,
fighting the fly, and child welfare.

"The home economics teacher attracted the attention of all the colored
farmers and also the white visitors by constructing out of dry goods
boxes an attractive and substantial dresser and washstand, completing
the same before the audience, even to the staining, varnishing,
hanging the mirrors and attaching the draperies." One paper, in
estimating the value of these Movable Agricultural Schools said:
"Given ten years of good practical agricultural instruction of the
kind that was imparted to the Negro farmers, their wives and children,
for the past three weeks in Wilcox, Perry, and Lowndes counties, there
is no reason why every Negro farmer in the State should not only help
'Alabama feed herself,' but so increase the yield of its marketable
products that the State will be able to export millions of dollars'
worth of food and foodstuffs each year."

These Extension Schools are advertised by posters just like a country
circus, except that the language is less grandiloquent. On the
following page is a typical announcement presented in heavy black type
on yellow paper.


Co-operative Extension Work in Agriculture and Home Economics














Diversified Farming for the South, "A Ray of Hope to the Man with the

How to Make the Cotton Farm Fertile--Every Farmer Must Feed Himself.

Care and Treatment of Live Stock--"To Thee, my Master, I offer my
prayer; feed me, water and care for me, and when the day's work is
done, provide me with shelter."--From the Horses' Prayer.

Cotton Growing under Boll Weevil Conditions--Looks like Billie Boll
Weevil is here to stay.

Waste caused by weeds, stumps and skips.

Corn--Seed testing.

Dairying and Its Possibilities in Alabama.

Sweet Potatoes--How to grow and save them.


"Home Made Home."--A Home should be more than a place in which to eat
and sleep.

The Health of the Family--Much responsibility rests on the Mother.

Child Welfare--Every 4th Negro baby dies before it is One Year Old.
Fifty per cent of the diseases of Negro children under One Year can be

The Care of the Girls and Boys on the Farm--Make them your partners in
the business of Home Making.

Demonstration in Cookery--Too few of our women and girls know how to


This Extension School is being held under the auspices of the
Extension Service of the United States Department of Agriculture and
the Alabama Polytechnic Institute. The subjects will be discussed by
experts from the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute.

T.M. CAMPBELL, District Demonstration Agent,
Tuskegee Institute, Alabama.]

Thus did Booker Washington in the very year of his death, with the aid
of the National Government, launch the last of his many means for
helping the people whose welfare lay ever nearest his heart--the Negro
farmers. These Extension Schools are literally "going out 'into the
by-ways and hedges'" carrying to those who most need it Booker
Washington's gospel of better farming.

One of the great secrets of Mr. Washington's success was his unerring
instinct for putting first things first. In nothing that he did was
this trait better illustrated than in the unceasing emphasis which he
placed upon the fundamental importance of agriculture. He never
forgot that over 80 per cent. of his people drew their living directly
from the soil. He never ceased to impress upon the business and
professional men of his race that their success was dependent upon the
success of the farmers; and upon the farmers that unless they
succeeded the business and professional men could not succeed. In
short, he made Tuskegee first and foremost an agricultural school
because the Negro race is first and foremost an agricultural race.



In 1900 Booker Washington founded the National Negro Business League.
He was president of this league from its foundation until his death.

During the winter of 1900, after reviewing the situation at length
with his friend T. Thomas Fortune, the Nestor of Negro journalism, and
at that time the dominant influence in the New York _Age_, who was
spending the winter at Tuskegee, with Mr. Scott and others of his
friends, he came to the conclusion that the time had come to bring the
business men and women of his race together in a great national
organization, with local branches throughout the country. He decided
that such an organization might be a powerful agency in creating the
race consciousness and race pride for which he was ever striving. All
the then-existing organizations, other than the sick and death benefit
societies and the purely social organizations, had as their main
purpose the assertion of the civil and political rights of the Negro.
There was no organization calculated to focus the attention of the
Negroes on what they were doing and could do for themselves in
distinction from what was being done for them and to them. All the
existing associations laid their chief emphasis upon the rights of
the Negro rather than his duties. Mr. Washington held that without in
any degree sacrificing their just demands for civil and political
rights a more wholesome and constructive attitude could be developed
by stressing the duties and the opportunities of the race. He believed
it would be helpful to emphasize in an organized way what they had
done and could do in the way of business achievement in spite of race
prejudice rather than what they had not done and could not do because
of racial discrimination. He believed they needed to have brought home
to them not how many of them had been held down, but how many of them
had come up and surmounted obstacles and difficulties. He believed
that they should have it impressed upon them that the application of
business methods would bring rewards to a black man just as to a white

The first meeting of the National Negro Business League was held in
Boston, August 23 and 24, 1900. After these sessions Booker Washington
made the following statement of the purpose in calling the meeting and
the results obtained:

"As I have travelled through the country from time to time I have been
constantly surprised to note the number of colored men and women,
often in small towns and remote districts, who are engaged in various
lines of business. In many cases the business was very humble, but
nevertheless it was sufficient to indicate the opportunities of the
race in this direction. My observation in this regard led me to
believe that the time had come for the bringing together of the
leading and most successful colored men and women throughout the
country who are engaged in business. After consultation with men and
women in various parts of the country it was determined to call a
meeting in the city of Boston to organize the National Negro Business
League. This meeting was held during the 23d and 24th of August, and
it was generally believed that it was one of the most successful and
helpful meetings that has ever been held among our people. The meeting
was called with two objects in view: first, to bring the men and women
engaged in business together, in order that they might get acquainted
with each other and get information and inspiration from each other;
secondly, to form plans for an annual meeting and the organization of
local business leagues that should extend throughout the country. Both
of these objects, I think, have been admirably accomplished. I think
there has never been a time in the history of the race when all feel
so much encouraged in relation to their business opportunities as now.
The promoters of this organization appreciate very keenly that the
race cannot depend upon mere material growth alone for its ultimate
success, but they do feel that material prosperity will greatly hasten
their recognition in other directions."

The spirit and purpose of this first national convention of Negro
business men may be gathered by this quotation from the speech of J.H.
Lewis, a merchant tailor, and perhaps the most successful business man
of the race at the time: "But what hope has the Negro to succeed in
business?" said Mr. Lewis. "If you can make a better article than
anybody else, and sell it cheaper than anybody else, you can command
the markets of the world. Produce something that somebody else wants,
whether it be a shoe string or a savings bank, and the purchaser or
patron will not trouble himself to ask who the seller is. This same
great economic law runs through every line of industry, whether it be
farming, manufacturing, mercantile or professional pursuits. Recognize
this fundamental law of trade; add to it tact, good manners, a
resolute will, a tireless capacity for hard work, and you will succeed
in business. I have found in my own experience of thirty years in
business that success and its conditions lie around us, regardless of
race or color. I believe that it is possible for any man with the
proper stuff in him to make a success in business wherever he may be.
The best and only capital necessary to begin with is simply honesty,
industry, and common sense."

The Boston _Herald_ of August 24, 1900, said of this gathering: "The
national convention of colored business men began its sessions in this
city yesterday in a businesslike and hopeful manner. This is not a
political gathering. It is not a race gathering in the sense of one
met to air sentimental grievances that spring from race
oppositions.... President Washington believes that the security and
progress of the colored people in this land depend upon their
development of a moral worth commanding respect and an industrial
capacity that will make them both useful and independent. He
apprehends that these qualities cannot be bestowed as a gift of
benevolence, but must be acquired by individual energy and struggle.
'As I have noted,' he says, 'the condition of our people in nearly
every part of our country, I have always been encouraged by the fact
that almost without exception, whether in the North or in the South,
wherever I have seen a black man who was succeeding in his business,
who was a taxpayer, and who possessed intelligence and high character,
that individual was treated with the highest respect by the members of
the white race. In proportion as we can multiply those examples, North
and South, will our problem be solved.' That is the great lesson that
the members of the colored race have to learn. It will aid in
extending this knowledge for those colored business men who have
attained a measurable degree of success in life to meet for mutual
encouragement and helpfulness."

Just fifteen years later, in August, 1915, Booker Washington presided
over the last session of the league held during his lifetime. This
meeting also was held in Boston. There attended it seven hundred
delegates from thirty different States. Mr. Washington in his annual
address as president summed up what had been accomplished by the race
during the fifteen-year interval and projected what they should strive
for in the future. He also took occasion publicly to thank his
foremost colleagues in developing the work of the league, particularly
Mr. Scott, the secretary of the league. Undoubtedly he fully realized
that it was his farewell meeting. He practically collapsed before the
sessions were over. In less than three months he was dead.

Among other things he said in this speech: "Since the league met in
Boston fifteen years ago, great changes have taken place among our
people in property-getting and in the promotion of industrial and
business enterprises. These changes have taken place not solely
because of the work of the league, but this and similar organizations
have had much to do with bringing about this progress. Let me be more
specific.... In 1863 we had as a race 2,000 small business enterprises
of one kind and another. At the present time, the Negro owns and
operates about 43,000 concerns, with an annual turnover of about one
billion dollars. Within fifty years we have made enough progress in
business to warrant the operation of over fifty banks. With all I have
said, we are still a poor race, as compared with many others; but I
have given these figures to indicate the direction in which we are

Later he said: "A landless race is like a ship without a rudder.
Emphasizing again our opportunities, especially as connected with the
soil, we now have, for example, 122 poultry raisers; the number should
be increased to 1,500. We now have 200 dairymen; the number should be
increased to 2,000.... We now own and operate 75 bakeries; the number
can be increased to 500. From 32 brickmakers the number can be
increased to 3,000. From 200 sawmills we can increase the number to

And so he continued giving the present achievement and future goal for
many more industries. After giving these estimates he said: "With our
race, as it has been and always will be with all races, without
economic and business foundation, it is hardly possible to have
educational and religious growth or political freedom.

"We can learn some mighty serious lessons just now from conditions in
Liberia and Hayti. For years, both in Liberia and Hayti, literary
education and politics have been emphasized, but while doing this the
people have failed to apply themselves to the development of the soil,
mines, and forests. The result is that, from an economic point of
view, those two republics have become dependent upon other nations and
races. In both republics the control of finances is in the hands of
other nations, this being true notwithstanding the fact that the two
countries have natural resources greater than other countries similar
in size.... Mere abstract, unused education means little for a race or
individual. An ounce of application is worth a ton of abstraction. We
must not be afraid to pay the price of success in business--the price
of sleepless nights, the price of toil when others rest, the price of
planning to-day for to-morrow, this year for next year. If some one
else endures the hardships, does the thinking, and pays the salaries,
some one else will reap the harvest and enjoy the reward."

Just before his closing words he said: "No matter how poor you are,
how black you are, or how obscure your present work and position, I
want each one to remember that there is a chance for him, and the more
difficulties he has to overcome the greater will be his success."

Perhaps the most significant speech at this conference, next to that
of Booker T. Washington, was that of William Henry Lewis who is
probably the foremost lawyer of the Negro race in America. Mr. Lewis
is a graduate of Harvard where he distinguished himself on the
football field as well as in the classroom. After graduation from the
Harvard Law School he served with distinction in the Massachusetts
Legislature, was appointed Assistant United States District Attorney
for the Boston district by President Roosevelt, and became Assistant
Attorney-General of the United States under President Taft.

In opening his speech Mr. Lewis said: "I do not know why my
fellow-citizens have chosen me for this honor, except to heap coals of
fire upon my head. Fifteen years ago I was not with you. I was one of
the critics, one of the scoffers, one of those who asked, 'What is it
all about?' 'What does it amount to?' You have lived to confute my
judgment, and shame my sneers, and I am now making generous
acknowledgment of my error. I claim no merit in doing this, except
that I can look backward as far as your great leader can look forward.
Booker Washington has always been from fifteen to twenty years ahead
of any other leader of his race.... While most of us were agonizing
over the Negro's relation to the State and his political fortunes,
Booker Washington saw that there was a great economic empire that
needed to be conquered. He saw an emancipated race chained to the soil
by the Mortgage Crop System, and other devices, and he said, 'You must
own your own land, you must own your own farms'--and forthwith there
was a second emancipation. He saw the industrial trades and skilled
labor pass from our race into other hands. He said, 'The hands as well
as the heads must be educated,' and forthwith the educational system
of America was revolutionized. He saw the money earned by the hard
toil of black men passing into other men's pockets. He said, 'The only
way to save this money is to go into business--sell as well as buy.'
He saw that if the colored race was to become economically
self-sufficient, it must engage in every form of human activity.
Himself a successful business man as shown by Tuskegee's millions, he
has led his race to economic freedom."

Later Mr. Lewis said: "Just as in Boston three-quarters of a century
ago began the movement for Emancipation from Slavery, so fifteen years
ago appropriately began the movement for our economical
independence.... In 1900 there was one league with 50 members, and a
few businesses represented. To-day I am told there are 600 leagues,
nearly 40,000 members, who represent every branch and variety of
business, trade and finance. When one realizes that business rules the
world, the possibility of such an organization seems almost unlimited
in its power to help the race along other lines of progress."

Such a tribute from one of the most rarely and genuinely talented
members of "The Talented Tenth" was indeed a triumph for Booker T.
Washington and his policies. In fact, it may fairly be said that this
event marked the end of the honest opposition from this element of
the Negro race--the end of the honest opposition of a group or section
of the race in distinction from the of course inevitable opposition of
individuals here and there.

One of the features of this 1915 meeting was a summary of the economic
progress of the race since the organization of the league fifteen
years before. This summary brought out the following facts:

In 1900, when the National Negro Business League was organized, there
were about 20,000 Negro business enterprises; now there are 45,000.

In 1900 there were two Negro banks; now there are 51.

In 1900 Negroes were running 250 drug stores; now they have 695.

In 1900 there were 450 undertaking businesses operated by Negroes; now
there are about 1,000.

In 1900 there were 149 Negro merchants engaged in wholesale
businesses; now there are 240.

In 1900 there were 10,000 Negro retail merchants; now there are

In the fifteen years since the National Negro Business League was
organized, farm property owned by Negroes has made a remarkable
increase. From 1900 to 1910, the value of domestic animals owned by
Negro farmers increased from $85,216,337 to $177,273,785, or 107 per
cent.; poultry from $3,788,792 to $5,113,756, or 35 per cent.;
implements and machinery from $18,586,225 to $36,861,418, or 98 per
cent.; land and buildings from $69,636,420 to $273,501,665, or 293 per
cent. In ten years the total value of farm property owned by Negroes
increased from $177,404,688 to $492,892,218, or 177 per cent.

It is significant of the standing and catholicity of this convention
that the Governor of Massachusetts, Hon. David F. Walsh, and Dr. John
E. White, a leading white Southern clergyman, both spoke at the
opening meeting at Symphony Hall.

The National League is made up of more than 600 local leagues which
influence in a direct and practical way almost every community in the
United States with any considerable number of Negro inhabitants. These
local leagues are all chartered, guided, and supervised by the
national organization and with them all the Secretary, Mr. Scott,
keeps in touch. From time to time he issues pamphlets setting forth
methods of organization, activities that can be undertaken, and
subjects that may be discussed under the head of "Some things that it
is possible for a local league to do to be of service to the town or
city in which it is located" are the following:

"(1) To keep a list of the young men and women who are intelligent,
trained, and qualified to fill responsible places as clerks,
accountants, salesmen, janitors, porters, etc.; in this way a league
can do much in getting suitable occupations for as many as are
competent, especially so in Northern States.

"(2) In protecting the community against fraudulent schemes, as false
stock companies, that are gotten up solely for the purpose of
defrauding colored people.

"(3) In fostering an interest in civic affairs, such as sanitation,
clean yards, cultivating pride in making attractive in appearance the
home districts of our people, and in other ways showing an interest in
everything that may make up a better community life."

In the same pamphlet under the head of "Suggested Subjects for
Discussion" comes the following list:

1. How to unify the colored people in the business interests of the

2. What the professional men, ministers, teachers, doctors, lawyers,
etc., can do to assist the business men and women.

3. What the business men can do to assist the professional men.

4. Patronizing Negro business enterprises.

5. What new business can be established in the community.

6. How can the business enterprises already established be improved?

7. How to secure additional country trade.

8. If a bank does not exist, can one be established and supported?

9. If a millinery establishment does not exist, can one be established
and supported, etc.?

10. If a shoe store or gents' furnishing store does not exist, can one
be established and supported?

11. If a drug-store does not exist, can one be established and

In another such pamphlet monthly meetings between the grocers and the
clubwomen are suggested. Such meetings would have as their object the
fixing of uniform and mutually satisfactory prices and service. It is
also recommended that Negro insurance agents constitute themselves
unofficial health inspectors for their sections of the town. In this
capacity they would report to the public health committee of the local
league all instances of badly ventilated homes or schools,
mosquito-breeding spots, accumulations of rubbish and filth, or any
other conditions menacing the health of the colored citizens. The
suggestion is made that where possible reading-rooms and bureaus of
information be opened in connection with the offices of Negro
newspapers and that such rooms place the colored papers from all
sections of the country at the disposal of the patrons after the
editor has finished with them. That several small shopkeepers club
together and employ one expert bookkeeper is another idea offered. It
is also proposed that small retailers get together for the purpose of
purchasing jointly such commodities as can be advantageously secured
in this manner. It is finally urged that a committee be appointed each
year to make a social survey of the Negro population. This study would
show what progress had been made during the year in all lines of
endeavor and at the same time furnish a directory of all the business
and social activities of the Negroes of the community. It is pointed
out that the sale of advertising space in its pages would alone more
than pay for such a directory.

It will be noted that these business leagues, like all other
organizations founded or moulded by Booker Washington, do not stick
to their lasts in any narrow sense. Mr. Washington never lost sight of
the fact that the fundamental concern of all human beings was living,
and that farming, business, education, recreation, or what not, were
only important in so far as they made the whole of life better worth
living. The means employed never obscured his vision of the aim sought
as is so frequently and unhappily the case with lesser men.

Just as at the agricultural conferences, so at these business
gatherings, Booker Washington used the methods employed by the
revivalist at the experience meeting. By so doing he accomplished the
double purpose of encouraging the successful by the tribute of public
recognition and spurring on the less successful and the unsuccessful
to go and do likewise. Also by means of men and women telling their
fellows in open meeting how they achieved their success the race is,
as it were, revealed to itself. It was, for instance, through a
meeting of the National Negro Business League that it came to light
that the man who raises the most potatoes in the United States, and
who is commonly known as the Potato King of the West, is a Negro--J.G.
Groves of Edwardsville, Kan. Groves' story at one of the annual
meetings attracted so much attention that an account of his life later
appeared in an illustrated special article in the _American Magazine_.
It was also discovered through a league meeting that Scott Bond,
another colored man, was probably the most successful farmer in the
State of Arkansas. After he had told his story at the meeting of the
National League held in New York in 1910 he was pursued by cameramen
and interviewers for days and weeks and his story was spread all over
the United States. At the Chicago meeting of 1912 Watt Terry, a modest
and even shrinking colored man of Brockton, Mass., unfolded a
remarkable story of success in spite of the hardest and must untoward
circumstances. So unbelievable seemed this man's story that the
Executive Committee took up with him personally the facts of his
recital, and later the Secretary of the League, in response to a
demand, had to vouch for his statements in open meeting. To clinch the
matter still further Mr. Washington wrote to the Secretary of the
Young Men's Christian Association in Brockton, who replied that
Terry's story had, if anything, been understated rather than
overstated. Booker Washington himself told Watt Terry's story in the
pages of the _Independent_ for March 27, 1913. Here it is: "... Mr.
Terry is a modest-appearing young man about thirty years of age. When
he landed at Brockton some twelve years ago he had, according to his
own story, a capital of just twelve cents. He found work at first as a
coachman. After a time he obtained what he thought was a better
position as janitor in the Young Men's Christian Association Building.
Some of the members of the association succeeded in getting him a
position as a railway porter.

"'Somehow or other,' said Terry, 'I did not care for that sort of
work, and after a few months gave it up. I made up my mind that I
would rather work at a trade, and tried to get work in one of the
shoe factories in Brockton. As I did not know the trade and there was
a good deal of competition for the places open to apprentices it
looked rather hopeless at first. Finally, I got the foreman to say he
would give me a chance, provided I was willing to work for two weeks
without pay. I accepted that offer and made up my mind to make the
most of those two weeks.'

"At the end of the two weeks Terry had done so well that he was given
a position in which he earned $7 a week. By sticking close to his job
and making the most of his opportunities he was gradually promoted
until he earned first $10, then $15, $18, and finally $25 a week.

"'I had some difficulties at first,' said Terry. 'The other men did
not like me at first and showed it. However, I stuck to the job, kept
on smiling, and it was not long before I was on just as good terms
with the men in the shop as I cared to be. As I did not have much
opportunity to spend my money, I found it easier to save.'

"When Terry reached the point where he was earning $25 a week his wife
was earning $9 as matron in the Brockton railway station, and they
both saved their money. Meanwhile Terry had begun to buy and sell real
estate in a small way. One day he sold a house and lot upon which he
cleared as commission $100.

"'That seemed to settle the question of my future,' said Mr. Terry. 'I
decided to go into the real estate business.'

"He added that at the present time his gross income from his houses
was between $6,000 and $7,000 per month. Altogether, including several
store buildings and two apartment houses containing fifty-four suites
of rooms, Mr. Terry owns 222 buildings in Brockton. One of these
buildings is leased by the United States Government for the use of the
post-office; another is rented for a public library and reading-room
by the city.

"I should not, perhaps, have dared to make this statement if I had not
confirmed the truth of Mr. Terry's statement by independent inquiry.
In a recent letter from Secretary White, of the Brockton Young Men's
Christian Association, he says: 'Some weeks ago I wrote you relative
to our mutual friend (Watt Terry's) business, but now I want to
enclose a clipping from the tax list which you will see is positive
evidence that the time the taxes were recorded he was carrying well on
to $300,000 and I know that his purchase of $120,000 occurred since
that time. It is certainly a most wonderful development within a few

"I ought to add that during all the time that Mr. Terry has been in
Brockton he has been connected with the Young Men's Christian
Association, and not long ago he contributed $1,000 toward the support
of that institution.

"Many persons will, perhaps, feel that money which is acquired in this
rapid way is likely to do the person who obtains it as much harm as it
does good. I confess that it seems to me that the same amount of money
acquired more slowly would mean more to the man who gained it. On the
whole, however, the Negro race has not reached the point where it has
been troubled by the number of its millionaires. And if getting slowly
and laboriously is a good discipline, the Negro has almost a surplus
of that kind of blessing. I ought to add, also, in justice to Mr.
Terry, that from all I can learn, his rapid rise has neither injured
his character nor destroyed his good sense. I suspect that the effort
to keep all those houses rented and the effort to pay interest on his
mortgages has had a tendency to make him humble."

Although Watt Terry's success is, of course, phenomenal he is only one
of the many notably successful Negro business men who have told their
stories at meetings of the National Negro Business League. Neither is
Mr. Terry the only Negro who has made a big success in real estate. At
the meeting of the league already described, held in Boston in 1915,
Mr. Washington introduced Philip A. Payton, Jr., of New York City;
E.C. Brown, of Philadelphia, Pa.; and Watt Terry, of Brockton, Mass.;
as the three largest real estate operators of the Negro race. Philip
A. Payton, Jr., was the pioneer in opening the Harlem district in New
York City to settlement by Negroes, who had formerly been excluded
from all decent portions of the city and obliged to live on San Juan
Hill and in other sections of unsavory reputation. E.C. Brown made
money in real estate in Newport News and Norfolk, Va., and headed
movements for the establishment of Negro banks in both of these
cities. Afterward he moved to Philadelphia, where he has opened a
bank, and also conducts a real estate business on Broad Street--the
only Negro, it is said, who conducts a large business enterprise on
this important thoroughfare. At the same meeting it was brought out
that a Negro by the name of Phillip J. Allston was chemist for the
Potter Chemical Company, having risen from bottle-washer to that
responsible post. The story of J.S. Trower, caterer, of Philadelphia,
showed that he was frequently engaged for the most important functions
in the city and had been regularly employed by the Cramps Company,
shipbuilders, to take charge of the catering in connection with the
ceremonies accompanying the launching of new ships for the Navy. Mrs.
Bell Davis of Indianapolis, Ind., has become equally successful as a
caterer. When the National Negro Business League met in Indianapolis
it was she who served the annual banquet. Booker Washington took the
greatest satisfaction in disclosing her achievements to the Negro
people who had previously known little or nothing about her. He thus
introduced her at a meeting of the League, "Mrs. Bell Davis, a widow,
the celebrated caterer of Indianapolis, Ind., who has served banquets
and receptions in honor of Presidents and Vice-Presidents of the
United States, who owns a stock of Haviland china, linen, and
silverware valued at thousands of dollars, all unencumbered, furnishes
another illustration of what heights can be attained in the commercial
world by strenuous effort and making use of every little opportunity
which presents itself. Mrs. Davis' humble beginnings, hardships
encountered, and success achieved would make three chapters of a most
interesting biography."

Among the men spoken of by Booker Washington at the Philadelphia
meeting of the Business League was Heman E. Perry, the founder of the
first and only old line legal reserve life insurance company operated
by and for Negroes. In his efforts to raise the $100,000 initial
capital required by the law of his State--Georgia--Mr. Perry had
tramped all over the United States at least three times. Finally,
having tried every conceivable source without securing the required
amount, he returned to all the subscribers of capital stock the money
they had paid in plus 4 per cent. interest. This action so inspired
the confidence of the subscribers that almost without exception they
not only returned the money, but subscribed for additional stock with
the result that the initial capital stock was oversubscribed. When
examined by the State Insurance Department three years after it opened
business this company was found to have a gross income of almost
$77,000 and admitted assets of almost $160,000. Each subsequent
examination by the State Department has showed a healthy growth, low
mortality, good judgment in the selection of risks, prompt payment of
claims, careful management, and a sound financial condition. By means
of this company, known as the Standard Life Insurance Company, life
insurance may be had by any Negro under the same conditions, with the
same degree of security, and at the same rates as a white man.

Among the other notably successful Negro business men who have told
their stories at meetings of the league are the following: Victor H.
Tulane, of Montgomery, Ala., whose story of small beginnings and
present success stirred his fellows at a meeting of the league. Mr.
Tulane entered the grocery business twenty-five years ago, a business
that any ambitious man of his race may enter, requiring small capital
but unlimited patience and close attention to business. He now owns
considerable property, and is a factor in all matters that concern his
race in Montgomery, being regarded by white and colored citizens alike
as Montgomery's first colored citizen. Mr. Tulane says: "Twenty-five
years ago I was a renter; to-day I am landlord of not a few tenants.
Twenty-five years ago my stock represented less than a hundred
dollars; at the present time it values several thousands. Twenty-five
years ago I had but one helper--a small boy; to-day I employ on an
average of seven assistants the year round, excluding my wife and
self. Twenty-five years ago I bought lard in five-pound quantities;
to-day I purchase by the barrel. Twenty-five years ago I bought salt
in ten-cent quantities; at present I buy it in ton lots. Twenty-three
years ago I was unable to secure credit to the amount of three
dollars, but since that period the very house that then refused me has
credited me at one time with several hundred times this amount, and
to-day it is not, how much do you owe?--but, how much do you want?
Twenty years ago my business barely required the service of one horse
and wagon; at present it demands the use of several. Twenty years ago
I did an annual business of something less than a thousand dollars;
during several years since that time the value of my business has
exceeded $40,000 per year." It is Mr. Tulane's boast that he has not
been denied credit during his business career except the one time
mentioned above, and that he has never been threatened or sued in
connection with the collection of a debt.

Another man's story that came out at the meeting of the National Negro
Business League is the story of Charles H. Anderson, a wholesale and
retail fish and oyster dealer. He conducts a fish, oyster, and game
business in Jacksonville, Fla., which supplies the largest hotels and many
of Jacksonville's richest white families. He is also interested in a fish
and oyster packing business on the Florida coast, and is the cashier of the
colored bank at Jacksonville. A speaker at the league meeting held in the
John Wanamaker store, Philadelphia, in August, 1913, referred to Mr.
Anderson as follows: "The first time I saw this gentleman was fourteen
years ago, when he was standing up behind a white sheet that had a round
hole cut in it, bravely negotiating his head and face as a target; he was
working for a man who was running one of those games known as:
(Uproarious laughter.) There I found him fourteen years ago, posing as
a target, and for the magnificent sum of five cents anybody could have
secured the privilege of throwing three balls at his face. (Prolonged
laughter and applause as Mr. Anderson stepped forward and was
introduced to Hon. John Wanamaker, who warmly shook his hand.) To-day
this young man is one of the most competent and one of the most
prosperous business men of our race, regardless of section, North,
South, East, or West. (Hearty applause.) Recently he was offered
$18,000 for one piece of property which he owns in Jacksonville, Fla.,
and if he would sell out to me to-day all of his real estate and other
holdings and equities, I would be willing to give him my check for

Others are: Edward C. Berry of Athens, Ohio, who owns and operates a
family hotel in which he does a business of $25,000 to $35,000 a year;
J. Walter Hodge of Indianapolis, Ind., who, inspired by the recitals
at the Business League meetings, gave up his job as a Pullman car
porter, after he had saved some money, and is now the owner of a large
real estate business; Thomas H. Hayes who, starting as a day laborer
for the Southern Railway, now controls probably the largest
undertaking establishment in Memphis, Tenn.

Perhaps the most remarkable story of business success ever told before
a meeting of the league was that of J. H. Blodgett of Jacksonville,
Fla. Mr. Blodgett told his story at the sessions of the league held in
Philadelphia in 1913 at the Academy of Music. By request he in part
repeated it at the meeting held in the Wanamaker Store the following
day. Mr. Blodgett is an ex-slave. He has had no education whatever
except what he has picked up in his long and successful struggle with
life's sternest realities. We will give his story in his own language.
Bear in mind that this is the language, as taken down verbatim by a
stenographer at the time, of a totally unschooled ex-slave. He said:
"Now I want to say I went to Jacksonville nineteen years ago with the
magnificent sum of a dollar and ten cents in my pocket. (Laughter.) I
also had an extra suit of underclothing in a paper bag; that was all
the baggage I had as a boarder. (Laughter.) I was also arrested as a
tramp for having on a straw hat in the winter time. (Hearty laughter.)
And I say all this especially to you young men who are present here
to-night, for so many of our young men seem to think that they can't
start or succeed in business unless somebody shoves them off the bank
into the water of opportunity and makes them swim for themselves; I
simply want to say this to you young men, I started with $1.10 and one
extra suit of underclothing in a paper bag--(laughter)--and to-day I
pay more taxes than any Negro in Florida. (Prolonged applause.) I have
had all sorts of struggles and difficulties to contend with, but you
can't get away from it--if you get anything in this United States of
America now, you have got to work for it. (Hearty applause.) The white
people all over this country have 'weaned the Negro.' (Laughter and
applause.) Dr. Washington has been going all over this country
boasting about what you could do and what our race has done, and the
white man is just quietly and gently and in every way telling us: 'Go
thou and do what Dr. Washington said you could do.' (Prolonged
laughter and applause.)

"When I began, I commenced working for a railroad company; I had a
splendid job--washing cars for a dollar and five cents a day; I got
$8.40 from the railroad every eight days. After working for a month
and a half I saved enough money to send back and bring my wife from
Charleston, South Carolina, to Jacksonville. Both of us went to work;
we opened a little boarding-house; she ran that, and when my $1.05 a
day enabled me to save as much as one hundred dollars, I quit that job
and began to hustle for myself. I told the white man I was working
under: 'You don't know that a Negro with $100 in cash is a rare thing
among my people. I'm going to strike out and see what I can do by
myself.' I made up my mind that if all of the big Negroes that I had
heard of, read about, and talked with, if they could get honor and
recognition by having brains, money, and ability, there was nothing
the matter with me and my poor little wife to prevent us from getting
up, too; so I went to work and determined to work day and night, if
need be, to get some money, and other things necessary to succeed in
life. I wanted money because I had seen and suffered so many
humiliations put on the man who does not have money. (Applause.)

"The first time I saw this distinguished gentleman (pointing to Dr.
Booker T. Washington) I was laying brick in Jacksonville, Fla., at
$1.25 a day, and he drove by in company with Mr. James W. Johnson, Mr.
J. Rosamond Johnson, and another gentleman. I had always loved the big
men of my race; even as a little boy I delighted to hear of what they
had achieved, and when I heard that the great Booker T. Washington
was in town, I quit my job for that day, went to the place where he
spoke, walked up close, and was hoping somebody would do me the honor
of introducing me. But I found the gentlemen who had him in charge
were introducing him to nobody but the big Negroes, and the big
Negroes were shaking hands with him and completely monopolizing Booker
T. Washington. (Prolonged laughter.) I did not like to be rude and
therefore did not push through the crowd and shake hands with him
anyway, as I felt like doing. I was nothing but a poor brick-layer,
nobody would introduce me, but I heard his grand speech, was richly
benefited and inspired by all he said, and when I went away I made a
solemn vow to myself. I said: 'If God be with me, I mean to so work
and conduct myself so that some day I shall deserve to shake hands
with Booker T. Washington.' (Hearty applause.) Now let me tell you the
sequel of the story. Away down in Florida, in my humble home in
Jacksonville, there is a room named 'Booker T. Washington.'
(Applause.) I have set apart and dedicated a portion of my home in
honor of this distinguished gentleman and leader of our race.
(Applause.) He is the first human being on earth I have ever permitted
to sleep in it, and his good wife is the first woman and second person
I have ever permitted to sleep in that room. (Prolonged laughter and
applause.) We love him in the South, both Negro and white man! (Hearty
applause.) Booker T. Washington's name is a monument of strength
because he is teaching the Negro to use his hands and head in order
to be useful in the community and to achieve success. (Applause.)

"I have been sick this summer and just got back from
Saratoga--(prolonged applause)--of course all men who get rich go to
Saratoga. (Laughter and applause.) While there I met some folks, and
in the course of my remarks I had occasion to remind them that Dr.
Booker T. Washington, while an earnest advocate of industrial
training, is not an enemy or opposed to higher education. There was a
man from the British West Indies who began to speak on the subject of
the Negro; he began to orate around, began to tell how the Negro must
expect to rise in the world; oh! he made a magnificent speech going to
show that there was nothing in the world like higher education for the
Negro; he even said that the Negro race would never amount to anything
and get its rights until every one of us had secured a college
education. (Laughter.) Why, you ought to have been there and heard him
orate; he took us all through Greek, Roman, ancient, and medieval
history; across the Alps and all around the Egyptian pyramids--(hearty
laughter)--and even cited the Druids of old to testify to the grandeur
and necessity of higher education for the Negro. After he got through
orating I said to him: 'Brother, I was down to a meeting of Negroes in
the State of Florida--at the State Business League, and I saw sitting
on one bench eleven (11) Negro men whose combined wealth would amount
to more than one million dollars, and not one of them ever saw the
inside of a college.' (Prolonged applause, mingled with laughter.)
And I said to him further than that: 'If any of you gentlemen who
claim to be educated in the British West Indies, and all you gentlemen
who hail from Beloit College (wherever it is)--if you can fool any one
of those eleven Negroes out of one dime, I will give you ten dollars!'
(Laughter and applause.) Yes, sir, without much education these men
own their own homes and dozens of homes in which other people live;
they are self-sustaining and independent, and can write their names to
checks away up in the thousands of dollars; they live in neat,
comfortable, well-appointed homes and enjoy the respect and esteem of
their neighbors--black as well as white. 'Now, sir,' I turned to him
and asked him, 'will you kindly tell me what is your occupation in
life and what you have been able to accomplish with all this higher
education you have been talking about?' I found out that he was a
waiter in the United States Hotel. (Laughter.) I said to him further:
'My brother, I don't claim to be an educated man, but live in a villa
of my own; I own considerable real estate, and my dear little wife
rides around in our own $5,500 Packard automobile, all paid for.'
(Prolonged applause and laughter.)

"I am somewhat of a carpenter and builder; I went to work, bought some
ground while it was cheap and at a time when everything in
Jacksonville was at low tide; there were plenty of sick Yankees whose
investments had depreciated and I invested what money I had in some
land. I would build a house, then sell it; buy more land, build
another house and sell that; after a while I was able to build three
houses and sell two, build two and sell one and so on--(applause)--until
pretty soon I found myself in the real estate business, buying land
and building and selling houses. In this way I have gone on building
my own houses until now I have plenty to support myself and that dear
little red-headed woman who has a seat somewhere in this beautiful
audience. (Laughter and applause.) She doesn't have to keep a
boarding-house any more; she is on the retired list. (Laughter and
applause.) We have made enough to keep from doing that."

At this point Dr. Washington asked, "How many houses do you own?"

Mr. Blodgett replied: "I have been selling houses pretty rapidly
during the last few years, but I have built--and right here I want to
say that while my subject is 'Building and Contracting' I have never
built a house for anybody but myself. I build my own property. I have
built since the fire we had in Jacksonville in 1902 two hundred and
eight houses of my own. (Prolonged applause.) I have sold a good many
of them. When I realized that I was beginning to get old and not in
such good physical condition as I used to be, I was afraid I might get
afflicted with tuberculosis, or appendicitis, or some of these other
high-sounding diseases the doctors now talk about--(laughter)--and so
I thought it best to convert some of my estate into another form that
could be more easily handled by my better half when I had gone to
inhabit my mansion in the skies. (Laughter.) So I have begun to sell
off some of my property and get out of debt. I now have one hundred
and twenty-one houses, the rents from which amount to a little over
twenty-five hundred dollars a month. (Prolonged applause.) I have
invested my money in recent years in what I call 'grip-sack'
securities, so that if there should be any little unpleasantness among
the races, I can go to my safe and grab that grip-sack. (Prolonged
laughter and applause.) You see if there should ever be any friction
or trouble, I can grab my grip-sack, jump into a powerful machine, and
come up here around Philadelphia, 'The City of Brotherly Love' or over
here in Canada, and I can sit down at my leisure and read in the
papers what they are doing down there. (Prolonged laughter.)

"Dr. Washington has been in my home in Jacksonville; I have now had
the honor of not only shaking hands with him, but of having him as my
special guest. I know I am going to make one break here now, I'm going
to say something that my little modest wife may not like me to say,
but I hope she will excuse just this one time--(laughter)--for
everybody knows that I ain't very bright anyhow--not really
responsible. (Prolonged laughter.) I want to say this, not in a
boasting way--I live in the best home of any Negro in this country I
have so far seen. (Hearty applause.) I live in a home--we call it
'Blodgett Villa'; we have flowers and lawns and vines and shrubbery, a
nice greenhouse and all those things that go to make up for higher
civilization. I surrounded myself with all these things to show that
the Negro has the same taste, the same yearning for higher
civilization that the white man has whenever he has the money to
afford it. (Applause.) You know they have been saying all these years
that the Negro is coarse and vicious, that he is kin to the
monkey--(laughter)--and that we do not appreciate those things that
make for higher civilization such as flowers, hothouses, neatly kept
houses and lawns, automobiles, and such things, so I went and got
them. (Applause.) When you step inside of Mrs. Blodgett's home there
you will find art and music and literature, and if you can find
anything in there that does not tend toward the higher civilization,
you have my promise and consent to throw it outdoors. (Laughter and

"I remember when I was a drayman on the streets of Jacksonville; I was
a great big man, even heavier than I am now: I wore a pair of
magnificent feet appropriate to my size, and when I drove along
everybody whistled and called me 'Old Big One.' Since that time I have
graduated from a drayman to what the program calls me: a 'Builder and
Contractor,' and when they see me now riding through the streets of
Jacksonville in my $5,500 Packard automobile, if one of those Negroes
should call me 'Old Big One,' I would put him in jail. (Laughter and
applause.) I am interested in business with white men, and I tell you
when a Negro gets to the point where he makes cash deposits in a white
man's bank--say $5,000 this week, $2,000 next week, and so on, they
will begin to discover you, honor and respect you. If you deposit
$2,000 this week, the bank president will know about it, and when it
gets to the place that you have got in the bank $25,000, why this man
even (pointing to an ebony black man in the audience) will have become
a bright mulatto!"

Perhaps the most unique and impressive session of the National Negro
Business League was that held at the invitation of John Wanamaker in
his great department store in Philadelphia in 1913. One of the most
interesting talks at this meeting was that of Charles Banks of Mound
Bayou, Miss. Mr. Banks has been referred to in an earlier chapter. He
has often been called the J. Pierpont Morgan of his race. He said in
part: "I live in the little town of Mound Bayou, Miss., that was
founded by Isaiah T. Montgomery, an ex-slave of Jefferson Davis, the
President of the Southern Confederacy. Mr. Montgomery, the ex-slave in
question, is present at this meeting. We live in what is called the
'Black Belt of Mississippi' and our plantations embrace some of the
richest and most fertile land that can be found in the entire 'Delta.'
In some parts of the 'Delta' the Negro population outnumbers the white
population in a ratio of five to one. In the town in which I live
(Mound Bayou) we outnumber the white population in a ratio of five to
nothing. (Laughter and applause.)

"Instead of whining and lamenting our lot, and bemoaning the racial
prejudice which exists in our section of the country, we are taking
advantage of some of the opposition and the tendency to segregate us
and we are trying to show, through the leadership of this ex-slave of
Jefferson Davis, that it is possible for us to build up a Negro
community, a town owned and controlled by Negroes right there under
his direct supervision. And as a result, on the Yazoo and Mound Bayou
Branch of the Yazoo Central Railroad, we have one of the best-governed
and most prosperous towns on the whole line. We have something like
thirty to forty thousand acres of land in that rich and fertile
country owned and controlled exclusively by Negro men and women. We
have there the little town of Mound Bayou, which it is our privilege
to represent, and so far as its management or government is concerned,
we have control of everything. There we have a Negro Depot Agent, a
Negro Express Agent, a Negro Postmaster, a Negro Mayor, a Board of
Negro Aldermen and City Councilmen, and every other official of the
city administration is a full-fledged Negro. In that town I am the
banker, and I pass for a Negro." (Laughter and applause followed this
sally, as the speaker is the blackest of full-blooded Africans.)

In concluding his address of welcome on this occasion Mr. Wanamaker
said: "I do hope that meetings like this will come often and be held
in every large city in the North. In exhibiting to the world the
successful business men and women of your race, your league is doing
exactly what every good merchant legitimately does, that is--you are
showing your goods. (Laughter.) And you are delivering the goods.
(Prolonged applause.) Your league is making an 'Annual Report' as it
were; it is making a 'Yearly Inventory' of what your race has on hand,
and though this large hall has been the scene of many delightful
occasions (mainly connected with this business) your coming here
to-day is the first meeting of its kind. (Applause.) I believe that
this meeting ought to be put down as historical, and should serve as a
set-off--in striking contrast to the stoning of William Lloyd
Garrison, in the streets of Philadelphia, scarcely more than fifty
years ago. (Prolonged applause.) This meeting will simply help to
balance your account. (Applause.) The world is moving on, and it is a
glorious thing to-day to find that, instead of stepping
backward--contrary to the predictions of some--you are making such
splendid strides forward under the fine leadership of Dr. Booker T.
Washington--(applause)--as evidenced in this Business League

"In closing I want not only to pay just tribute to what you have
achieved in music, in education, and religious life, but I think it
fitting, on this occasion, and I have planned to show you a fine
painting from the brush of the greatest artist of your race--the son
of Bishop Tanner. I have seen his handiwork in some of the art
galleries of the first rank in Europe. For the most part his paintings
are religious in conception, and the peculiar beauty of them is that
they deal with the heart, even as they are fine expressions of art.
(Applause.) Before you leave I have planned to show you several other
pictures of real merit that members of your race have produced.

"And oh--when I consider all these things, and when I gazed upon this
vast and beautiful audience a few minutes ago, as you were singing so
fervently our national anthem, 'America,' as I looked over the sea of
earnest, intelligent faces, I wondered how on earth we could sing that
song for a hundred years or more--I wondered how it was possible to
keep a race like yours enslaved while, for years and years, the people
of this nation sang that last line of that song, 'Let freedom
ring!!!'" (Prolonged applause, tumultuous cheering, and the waving of
countless handkerchiefs as Mr. Wanamaker resumed his seat.)

Aside from having the successful colored men and women tell one
another and their less-successful fellows how they had achieved their
success at these sessions of the league, Booker Washington also
arranged to have one or more prominent white men speak. His reason for
this, aside from the obvious one of helping to foster friendly feeling
between the races, was, it may safely be hazarded, to impress upon his
people that white people succeed by the possession and the application
of the same qualities which bring success to colored people. At the
Chicago meeting of the league in 1912 Julius Rosenwald spoke--Julius
Rosenwald, the Jewish philanthropist who has done and is doing so much
to help the Negro. It was he who offered $25,000 to any city in the
United States which would raise $75,000 for a Young Men's Christian
Association Building for colored men. It is he also who is helping
Tuskegee in the building of rural schoolhouses as was explained in the
third chapter. He is one of Tuskegee's trustees.

The late Robert C. Ogden, the New York manager of the Wanamaker
business, addressed the convention of 1905 in New York. He was a man
whom Booker Washington delighted to hold up to his people as an
example of what a man could accomplish through his own unaided
efforts. He had begun his business career at a salary of $5 a week,
and from that as his starting-point he had risen to be the New York
head of the greatest department store business in the country. He was
for twenty-five years President of the Board of Trustees of Hampton, a
member of the Tuskegee Board, and the originator and host of the
annual educational pilgrimages which gave leading Northerners a first
hand and intelligent insight into the dire need of education for the
masses of the people both white and black throughout the South. Much
of the educational activity in the South to-day may be traced to the
early Ogden educational pilgrimages.

Theodore Roosevelt spoke at the New York meeting in 1910. He had just
returned from Africa. He said later that nothing connected with his
homecoming had touched him so deeply as the ovation given him by
these, his fellow-citizens of African descent. Among other white men
who have spoken before the league are Henry Clews, the banker; Dr.
H.B. Frissell, the Principal of Hampton Institute, and Dr. J.H.
Dillard, president of the Anna T. Jeanes Foundation of Negro Rural

One of Mr. Washington's many methods for inspiring his people to
strive for business efficiency and success was to excite their
imaginations by holding up before them the achievements of such men as
John Wanamaker, Robert C. Ogden, William H. Baldwin, Jr., Henry H.
Rogers, Julius Rosenwald, the Rockefellers, and Andrew Carnegie.

Out of the National Negro Business League have developed the following
organizations which are affiliated with it:

     The National Negro Funeral Directors' Association,
     The National Negro Press Association,
     The National Negro Bar Association,
     The National Negro Retail Merchants' Association,
     The National Association of Negro Insurance Men.

Booker Washington was able to speak with assurance and authority to
the business men of his race because he practised what he preached.
The business methods which he employed in conducting the business, in
distinction from the educational affairs, of Tuskegee Institute,
compare favorably with those of the best-managed industrial
corporations. He may even have appeared to be over-insistent upon
business accuracy, system, and efficiency, so anxious was he to belie
the popular notion that Negroes must of necessity, because they are
Negroes, be slipshod and unsystematic. In refutation of this familiar
accusation he built up an institution almost as large as Harvard
University which runs like clockwork without a single white man or
woman having any part in its actual administration. Tuskegee itself is
the most notable example of its founder's method of argument. No
person knowing the facts about Tuskegee can ever again honestly say
that Negroes are always and necessarily slipshod and unsystematic in
their business methods.



In spite of his absorption in guiding the destinies of his race Booker
Washington never lost interest in individuals however humble or in
their individual affairs however small. This was strikingly shown in
his relations to his students. He never wearied in his efforts to help
in the solution of the life problems of the hundreds of raw boys and
girls who each year flocked to Tuskegee and to Booker Washington with
little but hope and ambition upon which to build their careers. With
many of these newcomers he not infrequently had his initial talk
before they knew who he was. This was made easy by his simple and
unassuming manner, which was the exact opposite to what these
unsophisticated youths expected in a great man. One of the graduates
of Tuskegee in the book, "Tuskegee and Its People," thus describes his
first meeting with Booker Washington. His experience was almost
identical with that of many another entering student. He says:

"My first glimpse of Mr. Washington was had in the depot at
Montgomery, Ala., where a friend and I, on our way to Tuskegee, had
changed cars for the Tuskegee train. Two gentlemen came into the
waiting-room where we were seated, one a man of splendid appearance
and address, the other a most ordinary appearing individual, we
thought. The latter, addressing us, inquired our destination. Upon
being told that we were going to Tuskegee, he remarked that he had
heard that Tuskegee was a very hard place--a place where students were
given too much to do, and where the food was very simple and coarse.
He was afraid we would not stay there three months. We assured him
that we were not afraid of hard work, and meant to finish the course
of study at Tuskegee at all hazards. He then left us. Very soon after
the gentleman who had so favorably impressed us, and whom we afterward
found to be the treasurer of the Tuskegee Institute, Mr. Warren Logan,
came back and told us our interlocutor was none other than the
Principal of the school to which we were going."

Booker Washington was always keenly interested to get at the reasons
which had impelled the new students to come, and they would naturally
state these reasons more freely to a friendly unknown person than they
would to the Principal of the school. As previously mentioned, Booker
Washington always kept his ear to the ground. These raw boys and girls
brought him fresh and frank messages as to how the people were
thinking and feeling about Tuskegee and those things for which it

Some time after Mr. Washington's death the students of the Senior
Class were asked to write brief themes describing their first
impressions of him. In one of these themes the boy writer says, "His
general attitude did not bear out my idea of how a great man should
appear. I expected to see him with a diamond ring and riding in an
automobile on a pleasure trip, which most great men do. He was quiet,
not overdressed, nor yet self-conscious of the position he held and
the influence he wielded among the people. He seemed to me a man of
great thoughts, yet not realizing his greatness." Another boy writes:
"One of my first questions after arriving at Tuskegee, September 9,
1912, and registering as a student was to ask, where is Mr.
Washington? I was told that he hardly ever stayed here but was often
in the North. Two weeks later he came, and my first opportunity to see
him was one day on the street. I was so enthused over him that I went
to my room and wrote a letter home trying to describe him.

"The following Sunday night he lectured in the Chapel. His title was,
'Have a Place to Put Everything and Put Everything in That Place.' In
his talk he said: 'There are many people who have no system about
their work nor home. Often you visit persons' homes and every member
of the family is looking for the broom. The same is true of a match
when the time comes to light the lamp.'

"That talk was the most impressive one that I ever heard before or
since. From that talk I have reaped more benefit than any other. It
was the talk that I took in and began practising. I first started in
my room having a place to put everything and putting everything in
that place. After getting my room systematized I then began putting
this talk in practise at my work, etc...."

The next quotation is from the paper of a native African boy. He
says: "My first impression, or, at least, the first time I heard the
name of Booker T. Washington, was about the year 1902. I was then a
young boy, just arrived in one of the Native Training Institutions
existing in South Africa. These schools train young native boys
primarily to become teachers in their communities. As a native African
I had just acquired the elementary use of the English language, when
the following incident took place: One, a native teacher from the
upper part of the country, was announced and that he was to give a
lecture to the 'Boys' Saturday Evening Society.'

"The meeting assembled, and I at once heard that the lecture was about
a boy--Booker T. Washington--who obtained an education through his
struggles.... I did not hear or understand more. But it is strange to
say that this name was pinned in the bottom of my heart....

"It was during the coronation of King George V of England that I saw
this name. I had now finished that school and was teaching. It was
printed in a native paper that Booker T. Washington, an American
Negro, made an excellent speech. I cannot, however, say the exact
words of the editor, which were in greatest praise of that man, nor do
I recall the circumstances under which Mr. Washington had spoken.

"When I wanted to come to school in this country I made up my mind to
find the school--as I found later he was principal of one--where this
man was leader; and so I came to Tuskegee Institute. I found the
editor had well described the man's character and disposition."

Still another boy writes: "I first saw Dr. Washington at the
Appalachian Exposition held at Knoxville, Tenn., in 1912. It was Negro
Day and there were thousands of Negroes out to hear Dr. Washington
speak.... At times he would make the people laugh and then again he
would have a few crying. When I saw the tears in the eyes of his
listeners, I looked at Dr. Washington and thought of him with awe
because he was so highly honored. I thought of him with admiration
because he could speak so well, and I thought of him with pride
because he was a Negro.... His speech made me feel as if there were
really a few Negro men and women in the world who were making a mark,
and that there was a chance for more."

Booker Washington's interest in the lives of his students, as in all
things else, showed his combination of breadth of view and attention
to what less-thorough persons would have considered trivial details.
When, for instance, in 1913 Tuskegee was visited by one of the very
infrequent snowstorms which occur so far South, he himself went from
building to building to see that they were properly heated and to many
of the rooms, particularly of the poorer students, to make sure that
they had sufficient bed-clothes. During the last three winters of his
life he had a confidential agent make an early morning tour of all the
dormitories to make sure that they were so heated that the students
might dress in comfort on getting up in the morning.

Also when the weather was unusually cold he would make sure that the
boys who drove the teams that hauled wood and other supplies were
provided with gloves and warm clothing. One cold night he sent for Mr.
Palmer, the Registrar of the school, and said to him: "I wish you
would seek out the poor worthy students and see that it is made
possible for them to secure proper shoes and warm clothing. Some of
the most deserving of them will often actually suffer before they will
ask for assistance. We'll look out for the expense some way." He was,
in fact, as insistent that the students should have comforts as he was
that they should not have luxuries.

His attention to details and the comfort of the students was well
illustrated in the close watch he kept over the dining-rooms and
kitchens which he inspected every day he was on the grounds. Tomkins
dining-hall is the largest building on the Institute grounds and is
one of the largest dining-halls in America. It can seat over two
thousand persons at one time. Adjoining this hall is a spacious
dining-room for the teachers as well as extensive kitchens and a
bakery. Underneath it is a great assembly hall which seats twenty-five
hundred. Mr. Washington would usually appear before breakfast to
assure himself at first hand that the stewards, matrons, and cooks
were giving the students warm, nourishing, and appetizing food upon
which to begin the day's work on the farm and in the shops and
classrooms. Nothing made him more indignant than to find the coffee
served lukewarm and the cereal watery or the eggs stale. For such
derelictions the guilty party was promptly located and admonition or
discharge followed speedily. Probably in nothing was his instinct for
putting first things first better shown than in his insistence upon
proper food, properly prepared and served for both students and

He once said to his students, as previously quoted, "See to it that a
certain ceremony, a certain importance, be attached to the partaking
of food, etc...." To carry out this idea each table in this great hall
has a centrepiece of ferns, mosses, or flowers gathered from the woods
by the student selected by his or her companions to decorate the table
for that week. Boys and girls sit together at the tables. On Sundays
and holidays first and second prizes are given for the tables most
artistically decorated. Frequently these prizes take the form of some
coveted delicacy in the way of food. Each day when at the Institute
Mr. Washington would walk through the dining-hall during the noon meal
and criticise these centrepieces, and things generally. He would point
out that a certain decoration was too gaudy and profuse and had in it
inharmonious colors. He would then remove the unnecessary parts and
the discordant colors and point to the improved effect. He would next
stop at a table with nothing in the way of decoration except a few
scrawny flowers stuck carelessly into a vase. Picking up the meagre
display he would say, "The boy or girl who did this is guilty of
something far worse than bad taste, and that is laziness!" At the next
table he would have a word of praise for the simple and artistic
effect which they had produced with a centrepiece of wood mosses and
red berries. These comments would be interspersed with an occasional
admonition to this boy or that girl for a slovenly manner of eating,
or an inquiry of a newcomer as to where he had come from and whether
he thought he was going to be happy in his new surroundings. An
oft-repeated cause of merriment was his habit of stopping in the
middle of the hall, calling for attention, and then asking the
students if they were getting enough of various articles which he
would name, such as sweet potatoes, corn, and blackberries. Cutting
red tape was one of his special delights. Sometimes he would discover,
for instance, that certain vegetables were not being served because
the steward had objected to the price charged by the Farm Department.
He would immediately order these vegetables served and tell the
protesting steward that he could fight it out with the Farm Department
while the students were enjoying the vegetables. From the dining-room
he would finally disappear into the kitchens in his never-ceasing
campaign for cleanliness. Over and over again would he repeat to
students, teachers, and employees alike that the public would excuse
them for what they lacked in the way of buildings, equipment, and even
knowledge, but they would never be excused for shiftlessness, filth,
litter, or disorder.

One of the opportunities which he most highly prized and one of his
most effective means of influencing the whole body of students was
through his Sunday evening talks in the Chapel. Over two thousand
students, teachers, teachers' families, and townspeople would crowd
into the Chapel to hear these talks. They were stenographically
reported and published in the school paper. In this way he influenced
not only the undergraduates, but a large number of graduates and
others who subscribed to the paper largely for the purpose of
following these talks. We here quote from a previously unpublished
(except in the school paper) collection of these talks, delivered
during the school term of 1913-14, under the title of "What Parents
Would Like to Hear Concerning Students While at School." The first
talk was called, "For Old and New Students." In it he said in part: "I
suspect that each one of your parents would like to know that you are
learning to read your Bible; not only to read it because you have to,
but to read it every day in the year because you have learned to love
the Bible; because you have learned day by day to make its teachings a
part of you.... Each one of you, in beginning your school year, should
have a Bible, and you should make that Bible a part of your school
life, a part of your very nature, and always, no matter how busy the
day may be, no matter how many mistakes, no matter how many failures
you make in other directions, do not fail to find a few minutes to
study or read your Bible.

"The greatest people in the world, those who are most learned; those
who bear the burdens and responsibilities of the world, are persons
who are not ashamed to let the world know not only that they believe
in the Bible, but that they read it."

And this was the advice of a man who never preached what he did not
practise and who only a few years before had been denounced by many of
the preachers of his own race as a Godless man, building up a Godless

A little further on he said: "In many cases you have come from homes
where there was no regular time for getting up in the morning, no
regular time for eating your meals, and no regular time for going to

"Now the basis of civilization is system, order, regularity. A race or
an individual which has no fixed habits, no fixed place of abode, no
time for going to bed, for getting up in the morning, for going to
work; no arrangement, order, or system in all the ordinary business of
life, such a race and such an individual are lacking in self-control,
lacking in some of the fundamentals of civilization....

"If you take advantage of all these opportunities, if your minds are
so disposed that you can welcome and make the most of these
advantages, these habits of order and system will soon be so fixed, so
ingrained, so thoroughly a part of you that you will no longer
tolerate disorder anywhere, that you will not be willing to endure the
old slovenly habits which so many of you brought with you when you
came here."

And later, in speaking of the haphazard, slipshod, irregular meal, he
said: "Instead of bringing the family together it has put them wider
apart. A house in which the family table is a mere lunch-counter is
not and cannot be a home."

And just before concluding this talk he said: "Now what is true of
this school is true of the world at large. This is a little world of
itself. It is a small sample of civilization, an experiment station,
so to speak, in which we are trying to prepare you to live in a manner
a little more orderly, a little more efficient, and a little more
civilized than you have lived heretofore. If you are not able to live
and succeed here, you will not be able to live and succeed in the
world outside. If we do not want you here, if we cannot get on with
you here, it will mean that the world outside will not want you, will
not be able to get on with you."

Probably no educator ever kept more constantly before his own mind and
before the minds of his students and teachers that the purpose of
education is preparation for right living than did Booker Washington.
Everything that did not make for this end he eliminated, regardless of
customs and traditions, everything which did make for this end he
included, equally regardless of customs and traditions.

In a talk called, "Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother," the second of
this series, he made this rather touching statement: "Many of your
parents are poor. Not only that, but many of them are ignorant, at
least, so far as books are concerned. Notwithstanding all this, in
every case they have done something for you. It may have been, in many
cases I know that it has been, a very little, but out of their poverty
and out of their ignorance they have done something. They have made it
possible, in the majority of cases, for you to come here, and no
matter how poor they are, no matter how ignorant they are, their
ambition is largely centred in you."

This is one of the many statements which show that Booker Washington
had no illusions as to the ignorance and poverty of the rank and file
of his people, and yet with this full knowledge and realization he
never became discouraged.

In another of these talks, on "The Importance of Simplicity," he said:
"In many cases young men in cities do not own anything in the world
except what they are carrying around on their backs. They have a few
collars and a few cuffs, some bright-colored socks and neckties, and
that is all; nothing would be left of the man if you were to bury
these things. A few collars and cuffs, neckties, and a few pieces of
cheap jewelry--that is all there is of such men."

Later in the same talk he said: "Short, simple, direct sentences
indicate education, indicate culture, indicate common sense. Some
people think the way for them to show their education is by using big
words, elaborate sentences, and by discussing subjects which nobody on
earth can understand.

"Whenever you hear a man using words or talking on a subject that you
can't understand, you can be very sure that the man does not
understand himself what he is trying to talk about. If a man is
talking about any subject, literary or what not, of which he is really
master, he will be so direct, so simple, so perfectly clear and
intelligible in the discussion of that subject that the most humble
person can understand what he is saying."

In a talk on "Being Polite," he said: "It is often difficult, I might
better say, it is always difficult, for persons to have genuine
politeness in their hearts when they live in a country that is
inhabited by different races. Here in the South, and throughout this
country, for that matter, we come into contact with persons of another
race, persons of another color. It takes some effort, some training,
and often some determination to say, in dealing with a person of
another race, of another color, I will be polite; I will be kind; I
will be considerate."

In a talk on "Being Economical," he said: "You will help yourself and
help this school if you will say to yourself constantly: 'This is my
home; this property does not belong exclusively to the Trustees, but
it is mine; I am a trustee, every student is a trustee of this
institution. How can I make every dollar go as far as possible? How
can I help cut down expenses here?'" And later on, "I want you to get
into the habit of saying: 'This institution belongs to me, belongs to
my race; every dollar that is spent here is spent for my benefit and
for the benefit of my race; every cent that is wasted here is my loss
and the loss of all the generations that come after me.'"

In a talk on "The Use of Time," he said: "You hear people speaking
sometimes about 'killing time.' No civilized man should be allowed to
kill time any more than he should be allowed to destroy any of the
other natural resources. When you find a man engaged in 'killing time'
you will find a man who is disobeying one of the most fundamental laws
of civilization. A man who habitually devotes himself to 'killing
time' is a dangerous citizen and the law against vagrancy is aimed
against him."

In a talk on "Being All Right, But," he said: "You frequently hear it
said of certain persons in one connection or another that 'they are
all right, except,' or 'they are all right, but.' You are thinking,
perhaps, of employing some one for this or that important service and
among others the question is asked: 'What kind of disposition has this
one or that one?' Very often you receive an answer something like
this: 'They are all right, but----' That 'but' carries with it a lot
of things. There are too many people in the world who are 'all right,
but.' We want to get rid of just as many of these 'buts' as we can."
And in concluding the same talk he said: "Think big thoughts, think
about big questions, read big books, and, most of all, get into
contact with the big people of your acquaintance and get out from
under the control of the little people of your acquaintance. If you
will do this, gradually you will find yourself better fitted for life;
you will find yourself happier and better fitted to render

In a talk on "The Power of Persistence," he said: "Always keep your
eye on the student who seems to be dull, who is slow in his studies,
who has to repeat his class, but who keeps plodding along doggedly,
determinedly, until he has finished the course of study.

"Keep your eye on that student after he has gone out into the world.
He has learned to endure, he has learned to stick to his job in season
and out of season...."

In a talk on "Standing Still," he said: "People say of us that, as a
race, we are not capable of going very far, not capable of making
steady, persistent progress. We go a little way and there we stop,
stand still, and stagnate.... Now one of the things which this school
aims to do for you and through you is to change, as far as possible,
the reputation of our people in so far as they are regarded as
unprogressive, lacking in initiative and in ability to go forward

The concluding talk of this series, and perhaps the strongest of them
all, was entitled, "Thou Shalt Not Steal." In it he said: "I believe
if you could get down into the deep, dark corners of your own hearts,
and if you could get deep down into the hearts of your parents, you
could find there, in both cases, a misgiving, a sense of danger, never
clearly expressed but always present, a fear that some time,
somewhere, trouble was in store for you and for them.

"This is so far true, in some cases of which I know, that if parents
should some day learn that their children were in trouble they would
not be surprised, because they have expected it, looked forward to it,
and feared it; because they have known and suspected all along that
you had never thoroughly learned to control yourself when dealing with
other people's property...."

Later on he added: "This disposition to pilfer was, to a large extent,
a part of the history of slavery. It was rare when colored people who
belonged to a white family where they served as cooks, butlers, or in
some other form of household service, did not feel that everything
belonging to the white family belonged equally to them. Thus, when
freedom came, it was difficult to get the colored cook to feel that
she was a mere employee, that in the wages she received by the week or
month she was being paid for her services for cooking. It was very
hard to get her away from the customs and practises of slavery,
especially when receiving very small wages.

"In many cases boys and girls have seen or have known that their
mothers kept up this practice of pilfering from persons for whom they
cooked. They have seen it going on day after day and year after year
in their own homes and have observed that employers seem to expect it,
wink at it, at any rate, put up with it. While they know, as their
parents know, that it is wrong, they have nevertheless come to feel
that it is one of the ways in which black folk and white folk get on
together; one of the indirect ways, in other words, in which black
people have learned to recompense themselves for disadvantages which
they suffer in other directions."

In conclusion he said: "Each one of you can do something toward
solving the race problem, for example, by making, each for himself, a
reputation for honesty in the community in which you live. If in the
part of the country where you now live members of our race have a
reputation for carelessness, looseness in regard to the ownership of
property, you can help to solve the race problem, and make life here
in the South more comfortable for every other member of the race if
you will win for yourself a reputation for downright honesty and
integrity in all your dealings with your neighbors, whether they be
white or black."

Mr. Washington once said, "In all my teaching I have watched carefully
the influence of the toothbrush, and I am convinced that there are few
single agencies of civilization that are more far-reaching." He made
periodic tours of the students' rooms to find out what students if any
were without toothbrushes. The possession and use of a toothbrush is
one of the entrance requirements for Tuskegee. In this connection he
used to tell with a chuckle the reply of the girl who in answer to his
question as to whose toothbrush he found on the washstand said, "That
is ours," referring to her roommate and herself.

In his tours of inspection of the students' rooms he would also
inquire how many nightgowns they owned. He insisted that every student
should have at least two nightgowns. He was constantly impressing upon
the students that decent, respectable people do not sleep in the
garments in which they work during the day. In fact, he preached the
gospel of the nightgown and the toothbrush as insistently as he did
the gospel of work and simplicity.

He constantly insisted that the welfare of the students should be at
all times the dominant consideration in the conduct of the
institution. When the teachers would sometimes complain that their
welfare was not sufficiently considered he would remind them that the
Institute was being conducted for the benefit of the students and
that teachers were not required except for the benefit of the
students. That the students should be happy was almost a mania with
him. He was constantly sending for officers and teachers to inquire as
to whether the students seemed happy.

[Illustration: The cosmopolitan character of the Tuskegee student body
is shown by the fact that during the past year students have come from
the foreign countries or colonies of foreign countries indicated by
the various flags shown in this picture.]

To the delight of the students he would occasionally call a
mass-meeting where he would call upon them one by one to get up and
tell him of anything that was wrong, of anything that was keeping them
from being as happy as he wanted them to be. It was understood that
everything that a student said in such a meeting would be regarded as
a confidence and that nothing that he said would be used against him.
The teachers sometimes protested against the unbridled criticism which
Mr. Washington permitted in these meetings. He, however, continued
them without modification, and while many of the students' complaints
were grossly exaggerated their statements nevertheless led to reforms
in some important particulars. The meetings undoubtedly added greatly
to the contentment and happiness of the student body.

He was always trying to protect the poorer students against the danger
of being embarrassed or humiliated by the more fortunate ones. In this
connection he was constantly resisting the importunities of students
and teachers who wanted to charge admission fees to this or that game
or entertainment. When the occasion really demanded and justified an
admission fee he would make secret arrangements with the management to
have the poorer students admitted at his personal expense.

His willingness to hear the students' grievances was a characteristic
not always appreciated by the officers and teachers. He was a firm
believer in the right of petition either for a group or an individual.
No matter how pressed and driven he was with business no student or
group of students, and no teacher or group of teachers, was too humble
or obscure in the school's life to win a personal hearing. He would
without hesitation reopen and painstakingly review a case, already
decided by the Executive Council, if he thought there was the
slightest chance that an injustice had been done. He insisted upon
giving the accused not only "a square deal," but the benefit of every
doubt. On the other hand, when there was no reasonable doubt of guilt
no one could be more stern and unrelenting than he in meting out

Mr. Washington always encouraged and helped every ambitious student
who came to Tuskegee to develop his capacities to the utmost no matter
whether they were large or small. Years ago a student, William Sidney
Pittman, showed a particular aptitude for carpentry and draftsmanship.
After working his way through Tuskegee he was very anxious to take a
course in architecture. Mr. Washington arranged to have the Institute
advance him the money for a three years' course at the Drexel
Institute of Philadelphia, on the understanding that he would return
to Tuskegee as a teacher after his graduation and from his earnings
pay back to the school all that had been advanced for his training at
Drexel. Pittman's record at Drexel was wholly satisfactory. He
returned to Tuskegee and repaid his loan in accordance with the
agreement. He has since won the competitive award for the design of
the Negro Building at the Jamestown Exposition, has built a large
number of public and semi-public buildings throughout the South,
including the Carnegie Library at Houston, Texas; a Pythian Temple at
Dallas, Texas, where he lives, for the Negro members of the Knights of
Pythias; the Collis P. Huntington Memorial Building at Tuskegee, and a
number of Young Men's Christian Association buildings for colored men.
In 1907 he married Mr. Washington's only daughter, Portia Marshall
Washington, after her graduation from Bradford Academy, Massachusetts.
He is now generally regarded as the foremost architect of his race.

Somewhat later Mr. Washington succeeded in securing some scholarships
which enabled promising Tuskegee graduates to take two years of
post-graduate work in teaching methods at the Teachers' College of
Columbia University. These scholarships were given by John Crosby
Brown, V. Everett Macy, and John D. Rockefeller, Jr. In each case
these students were required to return to Tuskegee as teachers for two
years--the same time as their course at Columbia. Dean Russell of the
Teachers' College has testified to the earnestness and high character
of these Tuskegee graduates.

As measured by the Tuskegee standard of success, which is service to
others, perhaps the most successful of all Tuskegee's graduates is
William H. Holtzclaw, the Principal of the Utica Normal and Industrial
Institute of Mississippi. There is no school that has better emulated
the best there is in Tuskegee Institute, and there is no graduate of
Tuskegee that has followed more faithfully and effectively in Booker
Washington's footsteps. Holtzclaw has told his own story in an
admirably written and most interesting book entitled, "The Black Man's
Burden." Starting in 1903 with a capital of seventy-five cents, no
land and no buildings in a little one-room, ramshackle log cabin,
which he did not own and in which he and his wife lived as well as
taught, Holtzclaw now has an annual enrollment of nearly five hundred
students and a faculty of thirty teachers. The school through its
varied forms of extension work influences yearly about thirty thousand
people. It owns seventeen hundred acres of land and conducts twenty
different industries aside from its academic work. The buildings and
property are valued at one hundred and sixty thousand dollars. It has
also its own electric light plant and water-works and an endowment of
over thirty-two thousand dollars. In concluding his book Mr. Holtzclaw
says: "I see more clearly than ever before the great task that is
before me, and I propose to continue the struggle. It is an appalling
task: a State with more than a million Negroes to be educated, with
half a million children of school age, 35 per cent. of whom at the
present time attend no school at all (only 36 per cent. in average
attendance), a State whose dual school system makes it impossible to
furnish more than a mere pittance for the education of each child--yet
these children must be educated, must be unfettered, set free. That
freedom for which Christian men and women, North and South, have
worked and prayed so long must be realized in the lives of these young
people. This, then, is my task, the war that I must wage; and I
propose to stay on the firing-line and fight the good fight of faith."

Another Tuskegee graduate in whom Mr. Washington was especially
interested is Isaac Fisher. Fisher has been awarded the following
prizes for his writings:

"What We've Learned About the Rum Question," $500; "German and
American Methods of Regulating Trusts," $400 (in order to write this
paper Mr. Fisher had to acquire a reading knowledge of German which he
did alone and unaided in a few months' time); "Ten of the Best Reasons
Why People Should Live in Missouri," $100; "A Plan to Give the South a
System of Highways Suited to Its Needs," $100; "The Most Practicable
Method of Beginning a Tariff Reduction," honorable mention. (Upon the
request of the chief examiner of the United States Tariff Board this
essay was sent to that body for its use.) Besides these, Mr. Fisher
has taken several minor prizes for compositions on various subjects.

It would be difficult to say, however, whether Booker Washington
showed greater interest in the most brilliant or the most backward
students. Certain it is that the most backward students won his
special attention and encouragement.

In the early days of the school there was a student by the name of
Jailous Perdue whom Mr. Washington constantly encouraged and in whom
he never lost faith in spite of his almost total failure to master his
classroom work. Monroe N. Work, the statistician of the Institute and
the editor of "The Negro Year Book," under the title "The Man Who
Failed," has thus told Perdue's story:

"Back in the days when the cooking for students at Tuskegee was done
out of doors in pots and the principal entrance requirement was a
'desire to make something of himself' a young man, Jailous Perdue,
came to Tuskegee to get an education. He was financially poor and
intellectually dull. Examinations he could not pass. After struggling
along for several years and accumulating a lot of examination
failures, he decided to quit school, go out to work and help educate
his sisters. Although he had failed in his literary subjects, he had
nevertheless got an education in how to use his hands. He had learned
to be a carpenter. Out in the world he went and began to work at his
trade. As soon as he had earned a little money he placed three of his
sisters in school at Tuskegee, and with the help of his brother
Augustus, who had graduated some time before, supported two of them
there for three years and one for four years.

"In the meantime he had succeeded at his trade and gone into business
for himself at Montgomery, Ala., as a contractor and builder. Here
also he was successful and did thousands of dollars' worth of work. No
job was too small nor too large for him to make a bid on. If he did
not have a contract of his own he was not above working for some other
contractor, and as a result he was always busy. He has superintended
the construction of some of the largest buildings in Montgomery. Among
the buildings the erection of which he has superintended are the
Exchange Hotel, at a cost of $150,000; the First Baptist Church, at a
cost of $175,000; the First National Bank Building, at a cost of
$350,000; and the Bell Building, at a cost of $450,000. Perdue also
assisted as foreman or assistant foreman in erecting many of the
important buildings at Tuskegee Institute, such as the Principal's
house, the chapel, the library, Rockefeller Hall, the Academic
Building, and the Millbank Agricultural Building.

"It is hardly necessary to say that Mr. Perdue has accumulated
property or that he owns a good home in Montgomery, for in these
progressive days every black man in the South with any foresight is
investing some part of his earnings in property. The most interesting
and somewhat remarkable thing about the career of Perdue and the
greatest measure of his success is that twenty-three years after he
had left Tuskegee a literary failure he was asked to come back and
become a member of the faculty as an instructor in carpentry. Thus it
was that the man who failed succeeded and returned to the scene of his
failure a success. Perdue was constantly encouraged by Mr. Washington.
He came under the type of those who were not brilliant, but who were
always in his opinion worthy of help and encouragement."

Washington A. Tate was even duller in books than Perdue. During his
early years at Tuskegee he seemed unable to grasp the most
rudimentary information. His native dullness was made unpleasant and
aggressive by a combative disposition. He was constantly trying to
prove to his exasperated teachers that he knew what he did not know.
He was almost twenty-five years of age when he reached the Institute
and entered the lowest primary grade. He had the greatest difficulty
in passing any examinations and never succeeded in passing all that
were required. Motions were constantly made and passed in faculty
meetings to drop Tate, and were as constantly vetoed by Mr. Washington
on the plea of giving him one more chance. Finally when Tate's time to
graduate came the teachers in a body protested against giving him a
diploma. Mr. Washington argued that a man who had made all the
sacrifices Tate had made at his age to stay in school, a man who had
worked early and late in fair weather and foul for the school, a man
who had stuck to his task in the face of repeated failures and
discouragements, had in him something better than the mere ability to
pass examinations. Through Mr. Washington's intercession for him Tate
got his diploma. The next day Mr. Washington had him employed to take
charge of the school's piggery. Because of his hard, conscientious,
and effective work in this capacity he was afterward recommended to
the United States Department of Agriculture at Washington as the
proper man to take charge of the United States demonstration work in
Macon County, Ala. Tate proved to be one of the Government's most
successful demonstration agents. He is now farming successfully on
his own account in an adjoining county.

Booker Washington, as previously pointed out, saw very much more
clearly than most educators that education's only purpose and sole
justification lies in preparation for right living. A man who has
passed all manner of examinations may not be prepared to live rightly
and hence may not justly claim to be educated. A man who has failed to
pass examinations may be prepared for right living and hence may
justly be called an educated man. In other words, Booker Washington
realized that education was primarily a matter of the development of
character and only secondarily a matter of the acquisition of



During recent years the expenses of Tuskegee Institute have run to
between $250,000 and $300,000 a year. Of this sum Booker Washington
had to raise over $100,000 annually aside from the large sums
constantly demanded for new equipment such as the great central
heating and power plant which was installed in 1915 at a cost of more
than $245,000.

At the ceremonies commemorating the twenty-fifth anniversary of the
founding of Tuskegee Institute President Charles W. Eliot of Harvard
was one of the speakers. He said that one of his "first impressions of
Tuskegee Institute," after just a glimpse, was "that the oldest and
now largest American Institution of learning was more than 200 years
arriving at the possession of much less land, fewer buildings, and a
smaller quick capital than Tuskegee had come to possess in twenty-five
years. That's just a fact," he said, "Harvard University was not as
rich after living two hundred years among the people of Massachusetts
as Tuskegee is to-day, after having lived twenty-five years among the
people of Alabama. And that's the first impression that I have
received here.

[Illustration: In 1906, the Tuskegee Institute celebrated its 25th
anniversary. In the group above appear such well-known American
characters as Dr. William J. Schieffelin, New York; Dr. H.B. Frissell,
Hampton Institute, Va.; J.G. Phelps Stokes, philanthropist, New York;
Isaac N. Seligman, banker, New York; Dr. Lyman Abbott, editor of the
_Outlook_; Dr. Wallace Buttrick, Secretary General Education Board;
William G. Willcox, now President of the New York Board of Education;
Robert C. Ogden, philanthropist, New York; Andrew Carnegie, and Miss
Clara Spence of the Spence School, with numbers of their friends.]

"This evening I have received another impression from your Principal.
He said that the great need of Tuskegee, to-day, was a considerable
sum of money, which could be used at the discretion of the Trustees,
to fill gaps, to make improvements, and to enlarge and strengthen the
different branches of the institution. Now I should not find it
possible to state in more precise terms the present needs of Harvard
University. The needs of these two institutions, situated, to be sure,
in very different communities, and founded on very different dates,
are precisely the same." This comparison is the more striking when we
realize that President Eliot had at the time been at the head of
Harvard University for thirty years, five years longer than Tuskegee
had been in existence--President Eliot of whom it was said, "When he
goes to rich men they just throw up their hands and say, 'Don't shoot!
How much do you want?'"

The magnitude of Booker Washington's financial task is indicated in
his last annual report which he made to his Trustees in 1915. He

"As of May 31st, we have received from all sources for current
expenses $268,825.17; for buildings and improvements, $28,919.47; for
endowment, $28,102.09; from undesignated legacies, $53,858.10, making
the total receipts for the purposes named for the year $379,704.83.

"The gifts to the Endowment Fund for the year amounting to $28,102.09
now make the Fund stand at $1,970,214.17.

"The budget recommended for your consideration for the new year calls
for an expenditure for current expenses, repairs, renewals, and
equipment of $291,567.92...."

Later in the report he said: "Notwithstanding the depressed financial
condition of a large part of the country, I feel it would be a great
mistake for us in any degree to slacken our efforts to keep the school
before the public or to get funds. I believe, as Dr. H.B. Frissell,
Principal of the Hampton Institute, has often expressed it, that a
large part of the mission of both Hampton and Tuskegee is to keep the
cause of Negro education before the country, and that the benefits
coming from such efforts of publicity do not confine themselves alone
to Hampton and Tuskegee, but benefit all the schools in the South.
With this end in view, I very much hope that the Trustees may see
their way clear to encourage and help us as far as possible in holding
a number of large public meetings during the coming year." These were
brave words for a dying man. Five months later he died of sheer
exhaustion shortly after addressing one of these "large public
meetings." They also show the breadth of his conception of his task.
You will note that he points out that such publicity as he urges,
"benefits all the schools in the South"--not merely the schools for
Negroes, but "all the schools." It never occurred to him to limit his
sense of responsibility to his own school nor even to the schools for
his own race. As previously mentioned he would sometimes devote an
entire public address to an appeal for more and better schools for the
poor whites of the South.

Booker Washington's money-raising efforts consumed two-thirds of his
time and perhaps even more of his strength and energy. He planned
these money-raising campaigns just as carefully as a good general
plans a military campaign. His last big money-raising campaign was
conducted during June, 1915. He and the Trustees of the Institute had
been engaged for two or three years in the effort to raise the money
to complete the cost of the central power and heating plant, but
nearly $100,000 of the $245,000 needed had not been raised. This
burden bore heavily upon him. At last, with the approval of the
Trustees, he decided to make one last herculean effort not only to
raise this huge sum, but in addition, the money necessary to end the
school year free of debt. For this purpose he formulated a plan of
campaign by which five representatives of the school should cover the
chief centres of population throughout the Northern and Middle Western
States. This was the outline of the territorial assignments of the

Frank P. Chisholm: New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode
Island, Connecticut--important centre--Boston.

Charles W. Wood: New York east of Syracuse, and Binghamton--important
centre--New York City.

Jesse O. Thomas: New York west of Syracuse and Binghamton,
Pennsylvania--important centre--Philadelphia.

John D. Stevenson: Illinois, Wisconsin--important centre--Chicago.

Clarence A. Powell: Michigan, Ohio--important centres--Detroit and

Each representative carried letters of introduction to leading men and
women in the various centres throughout his territory. All these
letters were personally signed by Mr. Washington. At the close of each
day each collector telegraphed Mr. Washington at Tuskegee giving the
amount of subscriptions and pledges he had secured that day. The next
morning Mr. Washington wired each collector, stating the total amount
of gifts and pledges secured by all five collectors. When the Trustees
met in New York City, on the last Thursday of June, 1915, all but four
or five thousand dollars of the over $245,000 had been raised.

The Trustees themselves made up the difference by increasing by this
amount their own subscriptions. Thus was successfully concluded the
last great and difficult task which Booker Washington was to be
permitted to perform.

Of the hundreds of invitations to speak here, there, and everywhere
which kept pouring in upon him certain ones he definitely accepted
because of the money-raising opportunities either direct or indirect
which they offered; others of less promise he tentatively accepted to
fall back upon in case the more desirable ones for any reason
miscarried. Chautauqua engagements he considered only where they
provided an opportunity for direct appeal for contributions for the
work, or at least the chance to distribute printed matter. Chautauqua
bureaus offering him as much as half the gate receipts above $500 in
addition to a guarantee of $300 a night he turned down out of hand if
they did not include one or both of these opportunities. No matter how
much money they offered he would never accept such propositions unless
they carried with them some opportunity to make a direct appeal for
his work. It was sometimes suggested to him that he might receive
these fees personally and then turn them over to the school. This he
declined to do because he was unwilling to give even the appearance of
capitalizing his reputation and oratorical gifts for his personal
enrichment. Booker Washington was not one of those simple-hearted
individuals who are guided solely by what they deem inherently right.
He always strove to avoid the appearance of evil as well as the evil
itself; and, with one unhappy exception, he always succeeded. He fully
realized that his conduct was under constant scrutiny by enemies in
both races eager to find some pretext to drag him down. So circumspect
was he in his behavior that once only between the time he became a
national character in 1895 until his death twenty years later did his
critics succeed in distorting any deed of his into the semblance of
misconduct. The very nature of the charge in this one instance was
sufficient refutation for any person acquainted in even the slightest
degree with the man's life, work, or character.

The press as well as the platform he constantly used to keep his work
before the public for money-raising purposes. He had as good a "nose
for a story" as the best of reporters, and every story that came his
way was sure to find its way into print. No matter how driven with
pressing matters nor how tired he never denied himself to "the
newspaper boys." He believed that the more prominence, the more
"limelight," he could secure the better, provided he used it for the
promotion of his work. Thus he presented the apparent anomaly of being
at the same time one of the most modest and unassuming of men and also
one of the greatest advertisers of his day.

As well as the general press of both races he constantly used the
school press for money-raising purposes. The school paper which
circulates among donors and prospective donors as well as among the
students, teachers, and graduates carries in each issue brief
statements of some immediate and pressing needs and the money required
to satisfy them. These needs are set forth in the following manner:

     "WHAT $1,700 WILL DO"

     "For a long while an important part of our extension work
     and publicity work has been greatly hindered and hampered
     because of the lack of a new and up-to-date printing press.

     "One thousand and seven hundred dollars will supply us with
     this long-felt need and greatly add to the value and
     influence of our work."

     "WHAT $3,000 WILL DO"

     "One of our very greatest and most practical needs is a well
     but simply equipped Canning Factory. Three thousand dollars
     would help us to properly equip the Canning Factory we
     already have at Tuskegee. The factory will help not only in
     preserving large quantities of vegetables, fruits, berries,
     etc., during the summer, but at the same time could be used
     as a means of teaching large numbers of our girls a useful
     industry, and, more than that, the products could be used to
     sustain the institution during the winter months.

     "We could not only use everything that might be put up in
     cans here at the school in feeding the students and
     teachers, but there is an increasing demand among the
     merchants of the South, in the large cities, for anything we
     can produce on the school grounds.

     "We very much wish that some friend might see his way clear
     to give $3,000 with which to properly equip this factory."

The need for a new laundry building with equipment, a foundry, and a
veterinary hospital were similarly presented. The funds to meet each
of these needs were received as a result of these appeals, and a new
list of needs is now being advertised.

In concluding his annual report each year Mr. Washington would
summarize the immediate needs of the institution. In his last report
he thus stated them:

     1. $50 a year for annual scholarships for tuition for one
     student, the student himself providing for his own board and
     other personal expenses in labor and cash.

     2. $1,200 for permanent scholarships.

     3. Money for operating expenses in any amounts, however

     4. $2,000 each for four teachers' cottages.

     5. $40,000 for a building for religious purposes.

     6. $16,000 to complete the Boys' Trades Building.

     7. $50,000 for a Boys' Dormitory.

     8. $50,000 for a Girls' Dormitory.

     9. An addition to our Endowment Fund of at least $3,000,000.

A few months later, as he lay dying in a New York hospital, the
following letter was received for him at Tuskegee. It was at once
forwarded and passed him on his last journey to his home in the South.
He never saw it. The donor, a Northern friend who withholds his name,
has renewed the offer to the Trustees and they have accepted it.

     _November 8, 1915._

     _Dr. Booker T. Washington, Tuskegee Institute, Alabama._

     DEAR MR. WASHINGTON: I have read your annual report and also
     your treasurer's report, and make you the following
     proposition: If you will raise enough money to pay all of
     your debts up to May 1, 1916, and add two hundred and fifty
     thousand dollars to your endowment fund, I will give you the
     sum of two hundred and fifty thousand dollars for your
     building fund, to be used in building the items such as Nos.
     4, 6, 7, 8, and the "Barnes, etc.," mentioned under the head
     of "Special Needs," and for objects of similar character.
     The above does not include item No. 5, "Building for
     religious purposes," as I am not interested in that sort of
     work. I shall be glad to know whether this proposition
     interests you.

     Yours very truly,

     ---- ----.

The interest of this giver was first _aroused_ by his reading "Up from
Slavery" when it appeared in book form in 1901. As soon as he had read
the book he sent Dr. Washington a check for $10,000 for his work
which he has renewed each year since until he made the above offer.
"Up from Slavery" has brought more money to Tuskegee than all the
other books, articles, speeches, and circulars written by Mr.
Washington himself and the many others who have written or spoken
about him and his work. Among its larger immediate results, aside from
awakening the interest of the anonymous giver already mentioned, was
its similar effect upon the late H.H. Rogers, Vice-President and
active head at the time of the Standard Oil Company, and upon Andrew
Carnegie. Mr. Rogers became so much interested that he not only gave
large sums for the general needs of Tuskegee but eventually financed a
large part of the rural school extension work, which has been
described in earlier chapters, and which is now so important a part of
the school's activities. Under Booker Washington's inspiration and
guidance, too, Mr. Rogers later combined railroad building with race
building. In building his Virginia railroad he undertook a
wide-reaching work in agricultural education among the Negro farmers
living within carting distance of his road. Booker Washington had
demonstrated to his satisfaction that by increasing at the same time
their wants and their ability to gratify their wants he would be
building up business for his railroad.

Shortly after the publication in 1901 of "Up from Slavery," Frank N.
Doubleday, of Doubleday, Page & Co., the publishers of the book, in
playing golf with Mr. Carnegie mentioned Booker Washington and told
him something of his life. Mr. Carnegie was interested and wanted to
know more. Mr. Doubleday gave him a copy of "Up from Slavery." After
reading the book he immediately got into communication with the
author, told him of his interest in his life and work, and of his
desire to help him. The result was that Mr. Carnegie agreed to pay for
the construction and equipment of a library to be built by the
students. Booker Washington, his Executive Council, and the school's
architect, spent hours and hours of time in scrutinizing every detail
to bring the cost down to the smallest possible figure consistent with
an adequate result. The final cost to Mr. Carnegie was only $15,000.
Mr. Carnegie was amazed that so large, convenient, and dignified a
building could be built at so small a cost. Over and over again both
to Mr. Washington and to friends of the school he expressed his
surprise and pleasure at the result obtained by this relatively small
expenditure. After that there was no doubt he would do more for the
school. It was simply a question of how much more and what form it
would take. In 1903 the following letter was received by the late
William H. Baldwin, Jr., in his capacity as president of the Tuskegee
Board of Trustees.

     _Andrew Carnegie_
     _2 East 91st Street, New York_

     _New York, April 17, 1903._

     MY DEAR MR. BALDWIN: I have instructed Mr. Franks,
     Secretary, to deliver to you as Trustee of Tuskegee
     $600,000 of 5 per cent. U.S. Steel Company bonds to complete
     the Endowment Fund as per circular.

     One condition only--the revenue of one hundred and fifty
     thousand of these bonds is to be subject to Booker
     Washington's order to be used by him first for his wants and
     those of his family during his life or the life of his
     widow--if any surplus is left he can use it for Tuskegee. I
     wish that great and good man to be free from pecuniary cares
     that he may devote himself wholly to his great Mission.

     To me he seems one of the foremost of living men because his
     work is unique. The Modern Moses, who leads his race and
     lifts it through Education to even better and higher things
     than a land overflowing with milk and honey--History is to
     know two Washingtons, one white, the other black, both
     Fathers of their people. I am satisfied that the serious
     race question of the South is to be solved wisely only by
     following Booker Washington's policy which he seems to have
     been specially born--a slave among slaves--to establish, and
     even in his own day, greatly to advance.

     So glad to be able to assist this good work in which you and
     others are engaged.

     Yours truly,

     (Signed) ANDREW CARNEGIE.

     _To Mr. Wm. H. Baldwin, Jr., New York City, N.Y._

This great gift delighted Booker Washington not only for what it meant
directly to his work, but because it so strikingly illustrated a truth
which he had long and insistently impressed upon his staff and his
students: namely, that if every dollar contributed were made to do
the work of two, more dollars would be forthcoming from the same

The two events upon which Booker Washington's popular fame chiefly
rests are his speech before the Cotton States Exposition in Atlanta,
Ga., in 1895, and the publication of "Up from Slavery" five years
later. Since "Up from Slavery" played so great a part in aiding its
author to secure funds for his work it seems appropriate to give here
some account of how it came to be written, how it was written, and how
it was received.

In the year 1900 the editors of the _Outlook_ decided to illustrate in
the concrete the opportunities of America by getting some of the
Americans of greatest achievement to tell how they had risen by their
own efforts from the very depths of untoward circumstances. For this
purpose they selected Jacob A. Riis and Booker T. Washington. After
much hesitancy on his part and urgency on theirs Booker Washington
finally agreed to write the story of his life for serial publication
in the _Outlook_. His hesitancy was due merely to the fact that he
could not believe that the events of his life would be of any interest
to the public. So convinced was he in this belief that he had the
greatest difficulty in starting to write even after he had agreed to
do so. Finally, after a particularly urgent letter from the editors,
he stole some hours from his absorbing and exacting duties at Tuskegee
to write the first chapter. After these efforts had been typewritten
by his stenographer they produced only three and one-half pages--an
amount of copy discouragingly inadequate for the first installment.
He mailed the material, however, with a line of apology for its
inadequacy and promising to send more the next day. On receipt of this
scant initial copy the editors wrote him a letter of congratulation
and approval which greatly encouraged him, in spite of his heavy and
unrelenting administrative duties, to push ahead with new courage.
Notwithstanding, however, the best intentions on the part of the
writer and the most patiently insistent reminders on the part of the
editors there were many and wide gaps in the supposedly consecutive
series of chapters before the story was finally finished. Much of the
story he dragged from his tired brain, and jotted down on odds and
ends of paper on trains, while waiting in railway stations, in hotels,
and in ten and fifteen minute intervals snatched from overburdened
days in his office. The fact that it was a physical impossibility to
give adequate time and attention to so important a piece of work
distressed him and made him feel even more apologetic about the

The enthusiastic reception of his story by the editors and later by
the public was accordingly particularly surprising and gratifying to
him. After its serial publication he was soon almost overwhelmed with
congratulatory letters and laudatory reviews. Julian Ralph in the New
York _Mail_ and _Express_ wrote in part:

"It does not matter if the reader feels a prejudice against the Negro,
or if he be a Negrophile, or if he has never cared one way or the
other whether the Negro does or does not exist. Whatever be his
feelings, 'Up from Slavery' is as remarkable as the most important
book ever written by an American. That book is 'Uncle Tom's Cabin.'
Booker Washington's story is its echo and its antithesis. 'Uncle Tom's
Cabin' was the wail of a fettered, hope-forsaken race. 'Up from
Slavery' is the triumphant cry of the same race, led by its Moses upon
a trail which leads to an intelligent use of the freedom that came to
it as an almost direct result of Mrs. Stowe's revolutionary novel. 'Up
from Slavery' and 'Uncle Tom's Cabin' are inseparably linked in the
history of our relations with our dark-skinned fellow-citizen. One
book begins precisely where the other left off."

William Dean Howells in the _North American Review_ said of it: "...
What strikes you first and last is his constant common sense. He has
lived heroic poetry, and he can, therefore, afford to talk simple
prose.... The mild might of his adroit, his subtle statesmanship (in
the highest sense it is not less than statesmanship, and involves a
more Philippine problem in our midst), is the only agency to which it
can yield...."

Among the congratulatory letters came one from Athens, Greece, signed
"Bob Burdette, Mrs. Burdette, and the children" which greatly amused
and delighted Mr. Washington. It reads, paraphrasing the passage in
the book where he tells of the insistent stranger who unerringly seeks
him out when he tries to get a little quiet and rest on a train, "'Is
not this Booker T. Washington? We wish to introduce ourselves.' You
see, you can't escape it. We read that sentence, and shouted with
delight over it, in Damascus. I was going to write--'far-away
Damascus'--but no place is far away now. Damascus is very near to
Tuskegee, in fact, only six or seven thousand years older, and not
more than fifty thousand years behind. It must have had a good start,
too, for Abraham went there or sent there to get that wise and tactful
'steward of his house,' Eliezir. But Damascus has always remained in
the same place, whereas Tuskegee has been marching on by leaps and
bounds. But you are a busy man--we have heard that, even in this land.
And I can see you reading this letter five lines at a time. No use
sitting next the window, piling your hand-baggage up in the seat, and
pulling your hat over your eyes, is there? No, for we come along just
the same, sit on the arm of the seat, touch your elbow, and--'Is not
this Booker T. Washington?' We have been travelling for a year. The
_Outlook_ has followed us week by week. And week by week we have
reached out to clasp your hand, and have knelt to thank God for the
story of your life--for its inspiration, its hopefulness, its trust,
its fidelity to duty and purpose. Such a wonderful story, told in the
elegance of simplicity that only a great heart can feel and write. We
paused again and again to say 'God bless him.' And now we send you our
hand clasp and message--'God bless him and all of his.' There, now!
You may pile up your baggage a little higher--pull your hat down over
your eyes a little farther--and pretend to sleep a little harder. We
will leave you. But not in peace. More likely in pieces. For I see
other people, crowding in from the other car, with their glittering
eyes gimleted upon you."

Barret Wendell, Professor of English at Harvard University, wrote him:
"Will you allow me to express the pleasure which your book, 'Up from
Slavery,' has given me? For about twenty years a teacher of English,
and mostly of English composition, I have become perhaps a judge as to
matters of style. Certainly I have grown less and less patient of all
writing which is not simple and efficient; and more and more to
believe in a style which does its work with a simple, manly
distinctness. It is hard to remember when a book, casually taken up,
has proved, in this respect, so satisfactory as yours. No style could
be more simple, more unobtrusive; yet few styles which I know seem, to
me more laden--as distinguished from overburdened--with meaning. On
almost any of your pages you say as much again as most men would say
in the space; yet you say it so simply and easily that one has no
effort in reading. One is simply surprised at the quiet power which
can so make words do their work."

Thus was received the simple narrative of his life up to this time as
hastily written down in odd moments snatched from his already
overcrowded days. In this country alone more than 110,000 copies of
the book have since been sold. It has been translated into French,
Spanish, German, Hindustani, and Braille.

Booker Washington's philosophy as to money raising after a generation
of constant and successful experience was summed up in this statement
which he made in "Up from Slavery": "My experience in getting money
for Tuskegee has taught me to have no patience with those people who
are always condemning the rich because they are rich, because they do
not give more to objects of charity. In the first place, those who are
guilty of such sweeping criticisms do not know how many people would
be made poor, and how much suffering would result, if wealthy people
were to part all at once with any large proportion of their wealth in
a way to disorganize and cripple great business enterprises. Then very
few people have any idea of the large number of applications for help
that rich people are constantly being flooded with. I know wealthy
people who receive as many as twenty calls a day for help. More than
once, when I have gone into offices of rich men, I have found half a
dozen persons waiting to see them, and all come for the same purpose,
that of securing money. And all these calls in person, to say nothing
of the applications received through the mails. Very few people have
any idea of the amount of money given away by persons who never permit
their names to be known. I have often heard persons condemned for not
giving away money, who, to my own knowledge, were giving away
thousands of dollars every year so quietly that the world knew nothing
about it.... Although it has been my privilege to be the medium
through which a good many hundred thousand dollars have been received
for the work at Tuskegee, I have always avoided what the world calls
'begging.' My experience and observation have convinced me that
persistent asking outright for money from the rich does not, as a
rule, secure help. I have usually proceeded on the principle that
persons who possess sense enough to earn money have sense enough to
know how to give it away, and that the mere making known of the facts
regarding the work of the graduates has been more effective than
outright begging. I think that the presentation of facts, on a high,
dignified plane, is all the begging that most rich people care for."

Although this favorable estimate of the money-giving rich was based
upon many years of successful experience it must not be supposed that
Booker Washington did not have his share of rebuffs and
discouragements. In fact, scarcely a day went by that he did not
receive some such disheartening rebuff as the following note from a
man who had for several years contributed a small sum each year to
Tuskegee Institute:

     ----, _May 10, 1913._

     _Mr. Warren Logan, Treasurer, Tuskegee Institute, Tuskegee,

     DEAR SIR: I enclose my check for ten dollars in reply to
     President Washington's appeal of the 6th inst.

     I do not understand why such an appeal should be necessary
     after the large gifts by Mr. Kennedy and others. The Indians
     have received much less than the Negroes in money and care,
     yet they beg less, and are more ready to imitate the whites
     in being self-reliant. All over the North I find the Negroes
     despised by the whites for their laziness and disposition to
     be dependent.

     Very truly,

     ---- ----.

Mr. Washington's patient, circumstantial, and constructively
informative reply is characteristic of his method of rejoinder. It
also illustrates his habit of placing his reliance on facts and not on
adjectives, and of so marshalling his facts that they fought his
battles for him. He replied thus:

     _Tuskegee Institute, Alabama,_
       _May 26, 1913._

     MY DEAR SIR: Our Treasurer has shown me your letter of May
     10th, in which you inquire as to why it should be necessary
     for Tuskegee to appeal to the public for additional funds,
     also stating that the Indians receive much less than Negroes
     in money and care.

     Under the circumstances, I thought you would not object to
     my making the following report to you, covering the
     inquiries suggested in your letter.

     The Indians from a financial standpoint are better off than
     any other race or class of people in this country. The
     265,863 Indians in the United States own 72,535,862 acres of
     land, which is 273 acres for each Indian man, woman, and
     child. If all the land in the country were apportioned among
     the inhabitants there would be 20 acres per person. The
     value of property and funds belonging to Indians is
     $678,564,253, or $2,554 per capita, or about $10,000 per
     family. The Negroes, but lately emancipated, are by contrast
     poor and are struggling to rise.

     The Indians are carefully looked after by the United States
     Government. In addition to the elaborately organized Indian
     Bureau at Washington, there are six thousand (6,000) persons
     in the Indian field service, to especially look after and
     supervise them. There is one director, supervisor, or
     teacher for each 44 Indians.

     Some of the things that the Government does for the Indians

     (1) Look after the health of the Indians; for this purpose
     there are in the field one Medical Supervisor, 100 regular
     and 60 contract physicians, 54 nurses, and 88 field matrons.

     (2) Supervise their farming and stock raising. For the
     24,489 Indians engaged in farming there are two general
     supervisors, 48 expert farmers, that is, men with experience
     and scientific knowledge, and 210 men in subordinate farming

     Over $7,000,000 have been spent in irrigating lands for
     Indians. Congress in 1911 appropriated $1,300,000 for this
     purpose. For the 890,000 Negro farmers in the South, the
     United States Government maintains 34 Agricultural
     Demonstration Agents.

     For the supervision of the 44,985 Indians engaged in stock
     raising, the Government maintains 22 superintendents of live
     stock. For the 700,000 Negro farmers engaged in live stock
     raising there is only one Government expert working
     especially among them.

     (3) A system of schools is maintained by the Government for
     Indian children. For this purpose there are 223 day schools,
     79 reservation boarding schools, and 35 boarding schools
     away from reservations. In these schools in 1911 there were
     24,500 pupils. For the support of these schools the United
     States Government for 1912 appropriated $3,757,495. To
     assist in teaching the 1,700,000 Negro children in the South
     there was received in 1911 from the United States Government

     In general the Indians are not taxed for any purpose. On the
     other hand, the Negroes are taxed the same as other persons
     and in this way contribute a considerable amount for their
     own education and the education of the whites. In this
     connection, I call your attention to the enclosed pamphlet
     "Public Taxation and Negro Schools."

     I enclose herewith copy of my Last Annual Report, giving
     information as to the various activities of the Institution.

     Yours very truly,


On October 25, 1915, a few weeks before he died, Mr. Washington
delivered an address before the delegates to the National Council of
Congregational Churches, in New Haven, Conn., in which he well
illustrated his belief already quoted, "that a large part of the
mission of both Hampton and Tuskegee is to keep the cause of Negro
education before the country." He said in part:

"There is sometimes much talk about the inferiority of the Negro. In
practice, however, the idea appears to be that he is a sort of
super-man. He is expected with about one-fifth or one-tenth of what
the whites receive for their education to make as much progress as
they are making. Taking the Southern States as a whole, about $10.23
per capita is spent in educating the average white boy or girl, and
the sum of $2.82 per capita in educating the average black child.

"In order to furnish the Negro with educational facilities so that the
2,000,000 children of school age now out of school and the 1,000,000
who are unable to read or write can have the proper chance in life _it
will be necessary to increase the $9,000,000 now being expended
annually for Negro public school education in the South_ to about
$25,000,000 or $30,000,000 annually."

And in conclusion he said: "At the present rate, it is taking not a
few days or a few years, but a century or more to get Negro education
on a plane at all similar to that on which the education of the whites
now is. To bring Negro education up where it ought to be will take the
combined and increased efforts of all the agencies now engaged in this
work. The North, the South, the religious associations, the
educational boards, white people and black people, all will have to
coöperate in a great effort for this common end."

These were the last words he ever spoke at a great public meeting.
They show his acute realization of the immensity of the task to which
he literally gave his life, and his dread lest what had been
accomplished be over-estimated with a consequent slackening of effort.

A very cordial friendship existed between Mr. Washington and his
Trustees. Every man among them was his selection and joined the Board
on his invitation. In the year 1912 they manifested their friendship
and interest in the most practical of ways by volunteering to raise a
guarantee fund of $50,000 a year for five years to help bridge the
ever-widening gap between the income of the school and its unavoidably
mounting expenses. To do this, aside from contributing handsomely
themselves, almost all went out and "begged" of their friends. Mr.
Julius Rosenwald of Chicago, for instance, after making his own
liberal personal contribution, and soliciting funds among his Chicago
friends, left his great and absorbing interests at a busy time of the
year to go to New York and devote a week's time to "begging" money for
Tuskegee among his friends and acquaintances, Messrs. Low, Willcox,
Trumbull, Mason, and others also personally solicited funds. Many men
have gotten millionaires to give large sums of money, but how many men
have ever gotten millionaires both to give large sums and personally
to solicit large sums for a purely unselfish purpose?

In his final report Booker Washington said of this guarantee fund: "It
is not possible to describe in words what a relief and help this
$50,000 guarantee fund has proven during the four years it has been in
existence.... We shall have to begin now to consider some method of
replacing these donations. The relief which has come to us because of
this guarantee fund has been marked and far reaching."

The same qualities which enabled Booker Washington to get close to the
plain people helped him to win the confidence of the great givers.
Through his money-raising efforts he constantly added to his great
stock of knowledge of human nature. Also the same qualities of heart
and mind which enabled him to rise superior to the obstacles of race
prejudice helped him to bear without discouragement or bitterness the
many rebuffs of the money raiser. One cannot help speculating,
however, on the loss to Tuskegee, to the Negro race, and to the
general welfare, entailed by the necessity of his devoting two-thirds
of his time, strength, and resourcefulness merely to the raising of



Booker Washington's chief characteristic as an administrator was his
faculty for attention to minute details without losing sight of his
large purposes and ultimate ends. His grasp of every detail seems more
remarkable when one realizes the dimensions of his administrative
task. Besides leading his race in America, and to some extent
throughout the world, and raising between one hundred thousand and two
hundred thousand dollars each year, he administered an institution
whose property and endowment are valued at almost four million
dollars. Although the original property of the school was only a
hundred acres of land with three small buildings, it now owns
twenty-four hundred acres, with one hundred and eleven buildings,
large and small, in its immediate vicinity. In addition to these
twenty-four hundred acres of land the school now owns also about
twenty thousand acres, being the unsold balance of a grant of
twenty-five thousand acres of mineral land, made by the Federal
Government as an endowment to the Institute in 1899.

The organization of the Institute ramifies throughout the entire
county in which it is located. It has a resident student population
of between fifteen hundred and two thousand boys and girls, with a
teaching force of about two hundred men and women. It enrolls in its
courses throughout the year from thirty-five hundred to four thousand
persons. The receipts of its post office exceed those of the entire
postal service of the Negro Republic of Liberia in Africa. In a given
year the revenues of Liberia were $301,238 and the expenditures
$314,000. In the same year the receipts from all sources of Tuskegee
Institute were $321,864.87 and its expenditures $341,141.58.

Booker Washington so organized this great institution that it ran
smoothly and without apparent loss of momentum for the nine months out
of the twelve, during the greater part of which he was obliged to be
absent raising the funds with which to keep it going. The Institute is
in continuous session throughout the twelve months of the year. During
the summer months a summer school for teachers is conducted in place
of the academic department. For the purposes of this summer school all
or most of the trades and industries are kept in operation.

The school is organized on this basis. There is, first, a Board of
Trustees which holds the property in trust and advises the principal
as to general policies, etc., and aids him in the raising of funds;
second, the principal, who has sole charge of all administrative
matters; third, an executive council, composed of the heads of
departments, with the principal as its chairman. The following
officers serve as members of this executive council: Principal,
treasurer, secretary, general superintendent of industries, director
mechanical industries, director department of research and Experiment
Station, commandant, business agent, chief accountant, director
agricultural department, registrar, medical director, dean women's
department, director women's industries, chaplain, director extension
department, superintendent buildings and grounds, dean Phelps Hall
Bible Training School, director academic department.

The position of general superintendent of industries is held by John
H. Washington, brother of Booker T. Washington. Mrs. Booker T.
Washington fills the position of director women's industries.

After this executive council comes the faculty made up of the leading
teachers who have charge of the instruction in the various divisions
of the agricultural, industrial, and academic departments. This
faculty Mr. Washington in turn subdivided into a series of standing
and special committees having particular charge of certain phases of
the work such as repairs, cleanliness, etc. The committee on
cleanliness would, for instance, be expected to see that the boarding
department was insisting upon the proper use of knives and forks and
napkins--was serving the food hot and in proper dishes, and that the
kitchens were at all times ready for inspection and models of

[Illustration: Some of Mr. Washington's humble friends. (_See page

[Illustration: Soil analysis. The students are required to work out in
the laboratory the problems of the field and the shop.]

In the same way he constantly appointed committees to go into the
academic classes and see that they were correlating their work with
the trade work. The tendency to backslide is especially strong in an
institution which, like Tuskegee, is working out original problems.
It is fatally easy for the teachers in both academic and industrial
classes to slip away from the correlative method, for which the
institution stands, back to the traditional routine. The correlative
method requires constant thought. As Mr. Washington well knew, the
average person only thinks under constant prodding. Hence, the
committees to do the prodding! It is so much easier to take one's
problems from the textbooks than to dig them up in the shops or on the
farm as to be practically irresistible unless one is being watched.
Then, in the shops it requires a constant effort to work the theory in
with the practice. If the instructors in the trades tended to become
mere unthinking mechanics a vigilant committee was at hand to keep
them true to their better lights. And if the committees themselves
ever became slack, the all-seeing eye of the principal soon detected
it and they in turn were "jacked up." Mr. Washington himself had a way
of leisurely strolling about day or night into shop, classroom, or
laboratory with a stenographer at his elbow. If he thus came upon a
recitation in which no illustrative material was used, that teacher
would receive within the next few hours a note such as this:

     _December 8, 1914._

     MR. ----: After a visit to your class yesterday, I want to
     make this suggestion--that you get into close contact with
     some of the teachers here like Mrs. Jones of the Children's
     House, and Mrs. Ferguson, Head of the Division of Education,
     and Mr. Whiting of the Division of Mathematics, who
     understand our methods of teaching and try to learn our

     Your work yesterday was very far from satisfactory, _not
     based upon a single human experience or human activity_.

     [Signed] BOOKER T. WASHINGTON, Principal.

Three days before he had sent the following note to the head of the
academic department:

     _Mr. Lee, Director of the Academic Department:_

     I was very glad to see the wideawake class conducted by Mr.
     Smith this morning. His methods are certainly good.

     On asking questions of the individual members of the class,
     I found that about half of the class did not know just what
     was to be found out from the measurements. If Mr. Smith will
     go to the new Laundry Building, in case he has not done so,
     he will find an opportunity to teach the same lessons in
     connection with a real building. I hope you will make this
     suggestion to him. Nothing takes the place of reality
     wherever we can get something real.

     [Signed] BOOKER T. WASHINGTON, Principal.

Previous to this he had written Mr. Lee the following letter relative
to the general problem of the teaching efficiency in his department:

     _November 24, 1914._

     _Mr. Lee, Director Academic Department:_

     When you return, I want to urge that you give careful but
     serious attention to the following suggestions:

     First, I am convinced that we must arrange to give more
     systematic and constant attention to the individual teachers
     in your department in the way of seeing that they follow
     your wishes and policy regarding the dovetailing of the
     academic work into the industrial work.

     I am quite convinced that the matter is taken up in rather a
     spasmodic way; that is, so long as you are on hand and can
     give the matter personal attention, it is followed, but when
     you cease to give personal attention to it or are away,
     matters go back to the old rut, or nearly so.

     In some way we must all get together and help you to
     organize your department so that this will not be true.

     There are two elements of weakness in the academic work:
     First, I very much fear that we take into it every year too
     many green teachers, who know nothing about your methods.
     This pulls the whole tone of the academic work down before
     you can train them into your methods. I am quite sure that
     though you might not get teachers who have had so much book
     training, that it would be worth your considering to employ
     a larger number of Hampton graduates or Tuskegee graduates,
     who have had in a measure the methods which you believe in
     instilled into them.

     In my opinion, the time has come when you must consider
     seriously the getting rid of, or shifting, some of your
     older teachers. You have teachers in your department who
     have been here a good many years, and experience proves that
     they do not adapt themselves readily and systematically to
     your methods. I think it would be far better for the school
     to find employment for them outside of the Academic
     Department, or to let them take some clerical work in your
     department, than for them to occupy positions of importance
     and influence, which they are not filling satisfactorily and
     where they have an influence in hurting the character of the
     whole teaching.

     All these matters I hope you will consider very carefully.
     I am sure that the time has come when definite and serious
     action is needed.

     BOOKER T. WASHINGTON, Principal.

First and last on these apparently aimless strolls with a stenographer
he visited not only the classrooms and shops but every corner of the
great institution. He would return to his office with a notebook full
of memoranda of matters to be followed up or changed, and of people to
be commended or censured for their efficient or inefficient handling
of this, that, or the other piece of work. Once after writing a series
of letters calling attention to ragged tablecloths, unclean napkins,
and uncleanliness in other forms in kitchens, bakery, and dining-rooms
without the desired result, he personally took charge of the
situation, organized a squad of workers, put things in proper
condition, and then insisted that they be kept in such condition.

His passion to utilize every fraction of time to its maximum advantage
led him even to smuggle a stenographer into the formal annual
exercises of the Bible Training School so that he might during the
exercises clandestinely dictate notes for the head of the Bible school
as to those features in which the program was weak, failed "to get
across," did not hold the interest of the people, seemed to be over
their heads, or whatever might be his diagnosis of the difficulty. He
was not interested in the program for and of itself, but was keenly
interested in its effect upon the people. If it interested and helped
them, it was a good program; if it did not, it was a poor program and
no amount of learning or technical perfection could redeem it. He
sometimes reduced his more scholarly teachers to the verge of despair
by his insistence that there should be nothing on the program at any
exercise to which the public was invited which the every-day man and
woman could not understand and appreciate.

In opening the chapter we mentioned Booker Washington's faculty for
giving attention to apparently trivial details without losing sight of
his large policies and purposes. This was part of his habit of taking
nothing for granted. He never assumed that people would do or had done
what they should do or should have done any more than he assumed they
would not or had not done what they should. He neither trusted nor
distrusted them. He kept himself constantly informed. Every person
employed by the institution from the most important department heads
down to the men who removed ashes and garbage were under the
stimulating apprehension that his eye might be upon them at any
moment. He harassed his subordinates by continually asking them if
this or that matter had been attended to. He would sometimes ask three
different people to do the same thing. This resulted in wasted effort
on somebody's part, but it always accomplished the result, which was
all that interested him. He took nothing for granted himself and he
insisted that his subordinates take nothing for granted. He was a task
master and a "driver" but he taxed himself more heavily and drove
himself harder than he did any one else. Like other strong men, he had
the weaknesses of his strength, and probably his most serious
weakness was driving himself and his subordinates beyond his and their

His eye was daily upon every part of the great machine which he had
built up through an exhaustive system of daily reports. These reports
were placed on his desk each morning when at the Institute and mailed
to him each morning when away. They showed him the number of students
in the hospital with the name, diagnosis, and progress of each case.
From the poultry yard came reports giving the number of eggs in the
incubators, the number hatched since the day before, the number of
chickens which had died, the number of eggs and chickens sold, etc.
Similarly daily reports came from the swine herd, the dairy herd, and
all the other groups of live stock.

He received also each morning a report from the savings department
giving the number of new depositors, the amounts of money deposited
and withdrawn, and the condition of the bank at the close of the
previous day. There was, too, a list of the requisitions approved by
the Business Committee the previous day giving articles, prices,
divisions, or departments in which each was to be used and totals for
different classes of requisitions.

[Illustration: Mr. Washington was a great believer in the sweet
potato. He personally supervised the work of preparing for sweet
potato planting.]

The Boarding Department head would report just what had been served
the students at the three meals of the day before. In running over
these menus he would give a contemptuous snort if he came upon any
instance of what he called "feeding the students out of the barrel."
By this he meant buying food which could as well or better have been
raised on the Institute farms. He objected to this practice not
only because it was more expensive, but because it eliminated the work
of raising, preparing, and serving the foods which he regarded as a
valuable exercise in civilization. He also insisted that everything
raised on the farms should in one way or another be used by the
students. Besides serving to the students every variety of Southern
vegetable from the Institute's extensive truck gardens, he always
insisted that their own corn be ground into meal and that they make
their own preserves out of their own peaches, blackberries, and other
fruits. In other words, he made the community feed itself just as far
as possible. And this he did quite as much because of the knowledge of
the processes of right living which it imparted as for the money which
it saved.

The Treasurer also submitted a daily report of contributions and other
receipts of the previous day with the name and address of each
contributor. Mr. Washington arranged to receive and look over these
daily reports even when travelling. Hence, in a sense, he was never
absent. Only very rarely and under most unusual circumstances did he
cut this means of daily contact with the multifold activities of the

Although a task master, a driver, and a relentless critic, he was just
in his dealings with his subordinates and his students, very
appreciative of kindness or thoughtfulness, and generous in his
approbation of tasks well done. Three of the younger children of
officers of the school, while out walking with one of their teachers,
discovered a fire in the woods near the Institute one day. After
notifying the men working nearby, the children hurried home and wrote
Mr. Washington a letter telling him about the fire. They had heard him
warn people against the danger of forest fires and of the great harm
they did. This letter the three children excitedly took to the
Principal's home themselves, as it was on Sunday. He was not in, but
the first letter he dictated on arriving at his office the next
morning was this:

     _March 24, 1915._

     _Miss Beatrice Taylor, Miss Louise Logan, Miss Lenora

     I have received your kind and thoughtful letter of yesterday
     regarding the forest fire and am very grateful to you for
     the information which it contains. It is very kind and
     thoughtful of you to write me. I shall pass your letter to
     Mr. Bridgeforth, the Head of the Department, and ask him to
     look after the matter.

     [Signed] BOOKER T. WASHINGTON, Principal.

In the fall of the same year he addressed this letter of appreciation
to Mr. Bridgeforth, director of the Agricultural Department, mentioned
in the note of the children:

     _Principal's Office,_
     _Tuskegee Institute, Alabama_

     _October 4, 1915._

     _Mr. G.R. Bridgeforth, Director of Agricultural Department:_

     I have been spending a considerable portion of each day in
     inspecting the farm, and I want to congratulate you and all
     of your assistants on account of the fine sweet potato crop
     which has been produced. It is certainly the finest crop
     produced in the history of the school.

     You deserve equal commendation, especially in view of the
     season you have had to contend with, in connection with the
     fine hay crop, the pea crop, and the peanut crop.

     I wish you would let the members of your force know how I
     feel regarding their work.

     I believe if the farm goes on under present conditions, that
     at the end of the year it will very much please the Trustees
     to note the results accomplished especially so far as the
     Budget is concerned.

     [Signed] BOOKER T. WASHINGTON, Principal.

His quick mind and his keen sense of humor would sometimes lead him to
make fun in a kindly way of his slower colleagues. The members of the
Executive Council and the Faculty sometimes felt he treated them
rather too much as if he were the teacher and they the pupils. His
frequent humorous sallies and stories exasperated some of the more
serious-minded members of his staff very much as Lincoln's sallies and
stories exasperated some of the members of his Cabinet, particularly
Secretary Stanton. This sense of humor was undoubtedly with Booker
Washington as with Abraham Lincoln one of the great safety valves
without which he could not have carried his heavy burden as long as he

Among other things he always insisted that the human element be put
into the work of the institution and kept in it. He would reprimand a
subordinate just as sharply for failure to be human as for a specific
neglect of duty. He was particularly insistent that all letters to the
parents of the students should be intimate and friendly rather than
formal and stereotyped. He believed that nothing would more quickly or
more surely kill the effectiveness of the school than the application
of cut-and-dried theories and formulas to the handling of the students
and their problems. He never lost sight of the fact that the most
perfect educational machine becomes worthless if the soul goes out of

On his return from trips he would write a personal letter about their
boy or girl to each parent whom he had met while away. After he had
addressed a meeting and was shaking hands with those who came forward
to meet him a man would say, as one once did, with embarrassed pride,
"I 'spec you know my boy--he's down to your school. He's a tall, black
boy an' wears a derby hat." When Mr. Washington got back to Tuskegee
he sent for "the tall, black boy" with the derby hat and wrote his
proud father all about him.

On his return from journeys he would write individual letters not only
to the parents of students and to his hosts and hostesses, but to each
and every person who had tried in any way to contribute to the
pleasure and success of his trip. On returning from the State
educational tours which we have described he would write personal
letters of thanks and appreciation not only to every member of the
general committee on arrangements which had managed his tour
throughout the State, but also to every member of the local committees
for the various towns and cities which he visited. He would also write
such a letter to the Governor or Mayor or whatever public official or
prominent citizen had introduced him. Usually on these tours school
children, or a group of women representing a local colored women's
club, would present him with flowers. He would in such cases insist
that the name of each child or each woman in the group be secured so
that he might on his return write to each one a personal letter of
thanks. Many such letters are now among the treasured possessions of
humble Negro homes throughout the country.

Recognizing that Tuskegee's chief claim to support from the public
must be found in the achievements of her graduates he built up the
Division of Records and Research to keep in constant touch with the
graduates and gather information about them and their work. By this
means he could find out in detail at a moment's notice what most of
the graduates were doing and in terms of statistics what all were
doing. Eighteen to twenty of them are building up or conducting
schools on the model of Tuskegee Institute in parts of the South where
they are most needed. With these he naturally sought to keep in
particularly close touch.

With funds provided for the purpose by one of the Tuskegee Trustees,
committees of Tuskegee officers and teachers are sent from time to
time to visit these schools established by Tuskegee graduates. They
act as friendly inspectors and advisers. The following is the plan of
report drafted for the guidance of these committees:


     1. Physical.
        (a) Cleanliness of premises.
        (b) Keeping up repairs.

     2. Teaching.
        (a) Methods of instruction.
        (b) Books used, etc., that is, are they up to date.
        (c) To what extent correlation is being carried out.
        (d) Visiting teachers might give some definite
            demonstrations in methods, etc.
        (e) Special meetings with the faculty should be held.

     3. Financial.
        (a) To what extent does the school keep up with its
            accounts so that its receipts and expenditures
            can be easily ascertained?

     4. Community work.
        (a) Extension activities carried on by the school,
        (b) The efficiency of these activities.

     5. Attendance.
        (a) Number of students enrolled on date of visit.
        (b) Number in attendance on date of visit.
        (c) What efforts are being made to get the students
            to enter at the beginning of the term and remain
            throughout the year?


     1. Before concluding its visit the committee should make, to
     proper persons in the school, suggestions concerning the
     improving of the teaching and of other things as may be

     2. If committee makes a second visit, see to what extent the
     suggestions of the previous visit have been carried out.


     After each visit a written report by the committee covering
     all of the above shall be sent to Principal Washington.

To all the graduates of the Institute Mr. Washington sent a circular
letter on the first of each year in which frequently he told them of
the progress that had been made by the school during the year in
improvements, number of students enrolled, etc., and asked them in
turn to answer a list of questions about their life and work, or
sometimes in such letters he merely wished them success and gave them
some practical advice. The 1913 letter which follows is an example of
the latter:

     _Tuskegee Institute, Alabama,_
       _January 1, 1913._

     _Dear Mr. (or Miss) Blank:_

     I take this opportunity to send you greetings, to inquire
     how you are getting along, and to express the hope that in
     every way you are prospering. If, however, you are having
     discouragements, I trust that you are meeting them bravely.
     If you have difficulties, or are laboring under
     disadvantages, use them as stepping-stones to success.

     I again call your attention to the importance of keeping in
     touch with the Institute. Keeping your address on file with
     us and sending a report of your work will assist in doing
     this. I enclose herewith a blank for that purpose. Visits to
     the school should also be made from time to time. You should
     begin to prepare now to be here during the coming
     commencement exercises in May in order that you may see what
     is being done at the institution and to meet your former
     classmates. Already the officers of the General Alumni
     Association have begun preparations for your welcome.

     I urge upon you the importance of keeping up the habit of
     study and of reading good books and papers. The accompanying
     circular on "How to Buy Books" gives valuable suggestions
     about how to secure the best books cheaply. I take this
     occasion to inform you that already we are making
     preparations for our 1913 Summer School. It is hoped that
     every graduate who is teaching will attend this or some
     other good summer school.

     I trust that wherever you are located you will do all that
     you can for community uplift. Be active in church and
     Sunday-school work, help to improve the public schools,
     assist in bettering health conditions, help the people to
     secure property, to buy homes and to improve them. In doing
     all these things, you will be carrying out the Tuskegee

     Very truly yours,

     [Signed] BOOKER T. WASHINGTON, Principal.

The questions were slightly varied from year to year. The following
were those sent out with the 1915 letter--the last to bear the
signature of the Institute's founder.

     Please favor me by answering these questions and returning
     the blank as soon as you receive it.

     1. Your full name when at Tuskegee?

     2. What year were you graduated from Tuskegee?

     3. Your present home address?

     4. If you are not at home, your temporary address for the
        winter of 1915-1916?

     5. If you have married, your wife's name before marriage?
        Was she ever a student at Tuskegee?
        Is she living?

     6. Your present occupation? If in educational work, give
        your position in the school.

     7. How long have you followed it?

     8. What are your average wages or earnings per day, week, or

     9. What other occupation have you?

     10. Average wages per day, week, or month at this

     11. Kind and amount of property owned?

     12. Tell us something of the work you are doing this year.
         (We will also be pleased to receive testimonials from
         white and colored persons concerning your work).

     13. We especially wish to get in touch this year with as
         many of our former students as possible. Please give
         present addresses and occupations of all of these that
         you can.

     BOOKER T. WASHINGTON, Principal.

     _Tuskegee Institute, Alabama._

[Illustration: Mr. Washington had this picture especially posed to
show off to the best advantage a part of the Tuskegee dairy herd.]

As previously mentioned the relationship between Mr. Washington and
his Trustees was at all times particularly friendly and harmonious.
While they were always directors who directed instead of mere
figureheads, they nevertheless were broad enough and wise enough to
give the Principal a very free rein. Preëminent among the able and
devoted Trustees of Tuskegee was the late William H. Baldwin, Jr. In
order to commemorate his life and work the William H. Baldwin, Jr.,
Memorial Fund of $150,000 was raised by a committee of distinguished
men, with Oswald Garrison Villard of the New York _Evening Post_ as
chairman, among whom were Theodore Roosevelt, Grover Cleveland, and
Charles W. Eliot, and placed at the disposal of the Tuskegee Trustees.
A bronze memorial tablet in memory of Mr. Baldwin was at the same time
placed on the Institute grounds. At the ceremony at which this tablet
was unveiled and this fund presented to the Trustees, Mr. Washington
said in part, in speaking of his relations with Mr. Baldwin and Mr.
Baldwin's relations to Tuskegee:

"Only those who are close to the business structure of the institution
could really understand what the coming into our work of a man like
William H. Baldwin meant to all of us. In the first place, it meant
the bringing into our work a certain degree of order, a certain
system, so far as the business side of the institution was concerned,
that had not hitherto existed. Then the coming of him into our
institution meant the bringing of new faith, meant the bringing of new
friends. I shall never forget my first impression. I shall never
forget my first experience in meeting Mr. Baldwin. At that time he was
the General Manager and one of the Vice-Presidents of the Southern
Railway, located then in its headquarters in the city of Washington. I
remember that, a number of days previous, I had gone to the city of
Boston and had asked his father if he would not give me a line of
introduction to his son, about whom I had already heard in Washington.
Mr. Baldwin's father readily gave me a line of introduction and I went
in a few days after that and sought out Mr. Baldwin in his Washington
office and he looked through this letter of introduction, read it
carefully, then he looked me over, up and down, and I asked him if he
would not become a trustee of this institution. After looking me over,
looking me up and down for a few seconds or a few minutes longer, he
said, 'No, I cannot become a trustee; I will not say I will become a
trustee because when I give my word to become a trustee it must mean
something.' He said, 'I will study the institution at Tuskegee, I
will go there and look it over and after I have found out what your
methods are, what you are driving at--if your methods and objects
commend themselves to me, then I will consent to become a trustee.'
And I remember how well--some of the older teachers and perhaps some
of the older students will recall--that upon one day, when we were
least expecting it, he stopped his private car off here at Chehaw and
appeared here upon our grounds, and some of us will recall how he went
into every department of the institution, how he went into the
classrooms, how he went through the shops, how he went through the
farm, how he went through the dining-room; I remember how he went to
each table, and took pieces of bread from the table and broke them and
examined the bread to see how well it was cooked, and even tasted some
of it as he went into the kitchen. He wanted to be sure how we were
doing things here at Tuskegee. Then after he had made this visit of
examination for himself, after he had studied our financial condition,
then after a number of months had passed by, he consented to permit us
to use his name as one of our Trustees, and from the beginning to the
end we never had such a trustee. He was one who devoted himself night
and day, winter and summer, in season and out of season, to the
interests of this institution. Now, having spoken this word, you can
understand the thoughts and the feelings of some of us on this
occasion as we think of the services of this great and good man.

"It is one of the privileges of people who are not always classed
among the popular people of earth to have strong friends for the
reason that nobody but a strong man will endure the public criticism
that so often comes to one who is the friend of a weak or unpopular
race. This, in the words of another, is one of the advantages enjoyed
sometimes by a disadvantaged race."

Naturally no account of Booker Washington's administration of the
great institution which he built would be complete without some
mention of Mrs. Washington's part in her husband's work. Aside from
her duties as wife, mother, and home maker--duties which any ordinary
woman would find quite exacting enough to absorb all her time,
thought, and strength particularly in view of the fact that a wide
hospitality is part of the rôle--Mrs. Washington, as director of
women's industries, is one of the half-dozen leading executives of the
institution. In addition to her many and varied family and official
duties at the Institute Mrs. Washington has always been a leader in
social service and club work among the women of her race throughout
the country, and has besides all this come to be a kind of mother
confessor, advisor, and guide to hundreds of young men and women. We
will conclude this chapter by quoting in large part an article written
by Mr. Scott and published some years ago in the _Ladies' Home
Journal_, which describes how and when Mrs. Washington entered her
husband's life and work and the part she played in his affairs:

"Even before the war closed there came to the South on the heels of
the army of emancipation an army of school teachers. They came to
perfect with the spelling-book and the reader the work that the
soldiers had begun with the sword. It was during this period in the
little straggling village of Macon, Miss., that a little girl, called
then Margaret Murray, but who is known now as Mrs. Booker T.
Washington, was born. When she grew old enough to count she found
herself one of a family of ten and, like nearly all children of Negro
parentage, at that time, very poor.

"In the grand army of teachers who went South in 1864 and 1865 were
many Quakers. Prevented by the tenets of their religion from entering
the army as soldiers these people were the more eager to do the not
less difficult and often dangerous work of teachers among the freedmen
after the war was over.

"One of the first memories of her childhood is of her father's death.
It was when she was seven years old. The next day she went to the
Quaker school teachers, a brother and sister, Sanders by name, and
never went back home to live.

"Thus at seven she became the arbiter of her own fate. The incident is
interesting in showing thus early a certain individuality and
independence of character which she has exhibited all through her
life. In the breaking or loosening of the family relations after the
death of her father she determined to bestow herself upon her Quaker
neighbors. The secret of it, of course, was that the child was
possessed even then with a passion for knowledge which has never since
deserted her. Rarely does a day pass that Mrs. Washington amid the
cares of her household, of the school, and of the many philanthropic
and social enterprises in which she takes a leading part, does not
devote half or three-quarters of an hour to downright study.

"And so it was that Margaret Murray became at seven a permanent part
of the Quaker household, and became to all intents and purposes, so
far as her habits of thought and religious attitude are concerned,
herself a Quaker.

"'And in those early days,' says Mrs. Washington, laughing, 'I learned
easily and quickly. It was only after I grew up that I began to grow
dull. I used to sit up late at night and get up early in the morning
to study my lessons. I was not always a good child, I am sorry to say,
and sometimes I would hide away under the house in order to read and

"When Margaret Murray was fourteen years old the good Quaker teacher
said one day, 'Margaret, would thee like to teach?' That very day the
little girl borrowed a long skirt and went downtown to the office of
Judge Ames, and took her examination. It was not a severe examination.
Judge Ames had known Margaret all her life and he had known her
father, and in those days white people were more lenient with Negro
teachers than they are now. They did not expect so much of them. And
so, the next day, Margaret Murray stepped into the schoolroom where
she had been the day before a pupil and became a teacher....

"Then Margaret heard of the school at Nashville--Fisk University--and
she went there. She had a little money when she started to school, and
with that and what she was able to earn at the school and by teaching
during vacations she managed to work her way as--what was termed
rather contemptuously in those days--a 'half-rater.' It was not the
fashion at that time, in spite of the poverty of the colored people,
for students to work their way through school.

"In those days very little had been heard at Fisk of Tuskegee, of
Hampton, or of Booker T. Washington. Students who expected to be
teachers were looking forward to going to Texas. Texas has always been
more favorable to Negro education than other Southern States and has
always got the best of Negro public school teachers.

"But upon graduation day, June, 1889, Booker T. Washington was at
Fisk, and he sat opposite Margaret Murray at table. About that time it
was arranged that she should go to Texas, but, without knowing just
how it came about, she decided to go to Tuskegee and become what was
then called the Lady Principal of the school. Mrs. Washington has been
at Tuskegee ever since.

"Mrs. Washington's duties as the wife of the Principal of the Tuskegee
Institute are many and various. She has charge of all the industries
for girls. She gives much time to the extension work of the school,
which includes the 'Mothers' meetings' in the town of Tuskegee and the
'plantation settlement' nearby. Her most characteristic trait,
however, is a boundless sympathy which has made her a sort of Mother
Confessor to students and teachers of the Institute. All go to her
for comfort and advice.

"The 'mothers' meetings' grew out of the first Tuskegee Negro
Conference held at Tuskegee in February, 1892. Mrs. Washington, as she
sat in the first meeting of Negro farmers and heard what they had to
say, was impressed with the fact that history was repeating itself.
Here again, as in the early days of the woman's suffrage movement,
women had no place worth mentioning in the important concerns of life
outside the household. While there were many women present at this
first conference, they did not seem to realize that they had any
interest in the practical affairs that were being discussed by their
sons and husbands. While her husband was trying to give these farmers
new ideas, new hopes, new aspirations, the thought came to Mrs.
Washington that the Tuskegee village was the place for her to begin a
work which should eventually include all the women of the county and
of the neighboring counties. The country colored women crowd into the
villages of the South on Saturday, seeking to vary the monotony of
their hard and cheerless lives. Mrs. Washington determined to get hold
of these women and utilize the time spent in town to some good
purpose. Accordingly, the first mothers' meeting was organized in the
upper story of an old store which then stood on the main street of the
village. The stairs were so rickety that the women were almost afraid
to ascend them. It answered the purpose temporarily, however, and
there was no rent to pay. How to get the women to the meeting was,
for a time, a question. For fear of opposition Mrs. Washington took no
one into her confidence except the man who let her have the room. She
sent a small boy through the streets with the instruction to go to
every colored woman loitering about the streets and say: 'There is a
woman upstairs who has something for you.' Mrs. Washington says: 'That
first meeting I can never forget. The women came, and each one, as she
entered, looked at me and seemed to say, 'Where is it?' We talked it
all over, the needs of our women of the country, the best way of
helping each other, and there and then began the first mothers'
meeting which now has in its membership two hundred and twenty-nine

"Mrs. Washington asked some of the teachers at Tuskegee to begin to
help these people (the people of the country districts surrounding the
school). At first they went to the plantation (selected for the
purpose) on Sundays only. Mrs. Washington selected what seemed to be
the most promising cabin and asked the woman who lived there if she
could come to that house the next Sunday and hold a meeting. When the
party went down early the next Sunday morning a stout new broom was
taken along. Making the woman a present of the broom, it was suggested
that all take a hand in cleaning the house a little before the people
should begin to come. The woman took the broom and swept half of the
room, when Mrs. Washington volunteered to finish the job.

"She had not gone far along on her half before the woman was saying:
'Oh, Mis' Washington, lemme take de brom an' do mah half ovah.' Mrs.
Washington says: 'I have always thought that that one unconscious
lesson in thoroughness was the foundation of our work on that

"Not the least of the duties which fall to Mrs. Washington is that of
caring for the distinguished people who visit the Tuskegee Institute.
The Tuskegee rule that everything must be in readiness for the
inspection of visitors, as much so in the kitchen as in any other
department of the school, prevails in her home also.

"An interesting part of this home life is the Sunday morning
breakfast. The teachers have slept later than usual, and, through the
year, when Mr. Washington is at home, they are invited in groups of
three and four to share this morning meal. In this way he keeps in
personal touch with each of his teachers; he knows what they are
doing; he hears their complaints, if they have any; he counsels with
them; they 'get together.'

"Mrs. Washington's labors for the good of her people are not confined
to the school. She is (has been) president of the Southern Federation
of Colored Women's Clubs, editor of the official organ of the National
Federation of Colored Women's Clubs, of which she is also an officer.
She is a frequent contributor to the newspapers and magazines. (Mrs.
Washington has since served two terms as president of the National
Federation of Colored Women's Clubs.)

"Mr. Washington's own estimate of his wife's helpfulness to him may
be gathered from his tribute in his widely read autobiography, 'Up
from Slavery': 'She is completely one with me in the work directly
connected with the school, relieving me of many burdens and



Just as in the first chapter we sought to show the man in the making,
so in this last chapter we shall seek to picture him as he became in
the full fruition of his life. In the fully developed man of the last
decade of his life we find the same traits and qualities which began
to show themselves in those early years of constant struggle and
frequent privation. There is the same intense mental and physical
activity; the same readiness to fight against any odds in a good
cause; the same modesty, frankness, open-mindedness, and passion for

One of the many illustrations of this intense activity was shown in a
trip he made to Atlanta, Ga., three or four years before he died. Even
at this time his strength had begun to wane. In accordance with his
unfailing practice he got up at six o'clock in the morning, and after
visiting his poultry and his beloved pigs, mounted his horse and rode
over farms and grounds inspecting crops and buildings and what-not
until eight o'clock, when he went to his office and attacked his huge
morning's mail. After dictating for an hour or more he left his office
just in time to catch a train which brought him to Atlanta at two
o'clock in the afternoon. At the station he shook hands with four
hundred people who had gathered to meet him. As he went along the
streets to the Government Building he shook hands with many others who
recognized him in passing. At the Government Building he shook hands
with another large group assembled there to meet him. After the dinner
tendered him by some of the leading individuals and associations among
the Negroes of the city he posed for his photograph with a group of
those at the dinner. He then made a tour of the city by motor, during
which he visited three or four schools for Negroes and at each made a
half-hour speech into which, as always, he threw all the force and
energy there was in him.

After supper that evening he addressed twelve hundred people in the
Auditorium Armory, speaking for an hour and a half. From the armory he
went to a banquet given in his honor where he gave a twenty-minute
talk. He did not get to bed until one o'clock. Four hours later he
took a return train which brought him back to the school by
ten-thirty. He went at once to his office and to work, working until
late in the afternoon when he called for his horse and took his usual
ride before supper. After supper he presided at a meeting of the
Executive Council and after the Council meeting he attended the Chapel
exercises. After these exercises were over at ten o'clock he made an
inspection on foot of various parts of the buildings and grounds
before going to bed. By just such excessive overwork did he constantly
undermine and finally break down his almost superhuman strength and
powers of endurance. This he did with an obstinate persistence in
spite of wise and increasingly urgent warnings from physicians,
friends, and associates. Where his own health was concerned he
obdurately refused to listen to reason. It would almost seem as though
he had deliberately chosen to put forth herculean efforts until he
dropped from sheer exhaustion rather than to work with moderation for
a longer span of life.

Booker Washington was a man who thought, lived, and acted on a very
high plane. He was, in other words, an idealist, but unlike too many
idealists he was sternly practical. His mind worked with the rapidity
of flashes of lightning, particularly when he was aroused. This led
him at times to feel and show impatience in dealing with slower-minded
people, particularly his subordinates. He was often stirred to
righteous indignation by injustice, but always kept his temper under
control. He had a lucid mind which reasoned from cause to effect with
machine-like accuracy. His intuitions were amazingly keen and
accurate. In other words, his subconscious reasoning powers were very
highly developed. Consequently his judgments of men and events were
almost infallible. Although practically devoid of personal vanity, he
was a very proud and independent man, and one who could not brook
dictation from any one or bear to be under obligation to any one. He
had the tenacity of a bulldog. His capacity for incessant work and his
unswerving pursuit of a purpose once formed, were a constant marvel to
those who surrounded him. While he was without conceit or vanity he
had almost unlimited self-confidence. While it cannot be said that he
overrated his own abilities, neither can it be said that he underrated
them. His sympathies were easily aroused and he was abnormally
sensitive, but he never allowed his emotions to get the better of his
judgment. He forgave easily and always tried to find excuses for
people who wronged, insulted, or injured him. In repartee he could
hold his own with any one and enjoyed nothing more than a duel of wits
either with an individual or an audience.

Less than a month before he died, when he was wasted by disease and
suffering almost constant pain, he received this letter of appeal from
Madame Helena Paderewski:

     _New York, October 26, 1915._

     MY DEAR MR. WASHINGTON: I am writing you a very personal
     letter on a subject that is close to my heart, and I know
     the message it carries will find a response in your generous
     sympathy. It is with great pleasure that I recall our
     meeting, some years ago, and I have watched the success of
     your work among your people with sincere satisfaction, for I
     have always been an advocate of the principles for which you
     stand, the uplift of the colored race.

     It is because I know you have ever directed your broad
     influence toward the most worthy causes that I am asking you
     in the name of the starving babies and their helpless
     mothers, to tell your people that we need them in our work
     of sending food and medicines to Poland. We need, my dear
     sir, even the smallest contribution that your beloved
     followers may offer, and I beg of you to make an appeal to
     your people. Tell them, for they may not all know as well
     as you, yourself, that it was a Pole--Kosciusko--who, in
     addition to fighting for American liberty, gave that which
     he needed himself to help the colored race. As you will
     recall, after refusing the grant of land offered him in
     recognition of his services in the War of the Revolution, he
     returned to Poland, not wishing to accept a reward for doing
     what he considered a sublime duty to those in need. Later,
     after eight years, when he again visited America, he was
     given a pension as General in the American Army. With the
     back pay during his absence, the sum amounted to about
     $15,000. Although poor himself, he felt deep compassion for
     the neglected colored children and, with the money given
     him, he established the first school in America devoted
     exclusively to the education of the colored youth.

     I am sure you know the story in all its details, but I
     desire the colored people of America to know that to-day the
     descendants of the man who--unasked--aided them--plead for a
     crust of bread, a spoonful of milk for their hungry
     children. Tell them this and God will bless and prosper you
     in your telling and them in their giving. Do not think that
     small amounts are useless--five cents may save a life. I am
     sending Mr. Paderewski's appeal, but conditions, to-day, are
     worse now than when it was written. Will you help Poland?
     Will you do it now?

     Please reply to Hotel Gotham.

     Yours in work for humanity,


     _Dr. Booker T. Washington, Tuskegee, Alabama._

In spite of disease, pain, and weakness--in spite of the fact that he
must have realized that his remaining time for his own chosen work had
narrowed down to a matter of weeks--he instantly responded to this
appeal. Immediately he sent Madame Paderewski's letter to the Negro
press of the entire country with this explanatory note:


     Madame Helena Paderewski, wife of the famous pianist, has
     addressed a letter to Dr. Booker T. Washington, of the
     Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute, making an appeal
     for the Polish victims of the European War. The letter is
     sent to the press with the thought that there may be those
     among the Negro people who may feel disposed to respond to
     Madame Paderewski's appeal.

     An organization known as the Polish Victims' Relief Fund has
     been organized, with headquarters in Aeolian Building, 35
     West Forty-Second Street, New York City. Madame Paderewski's
     letter follows, etc.

Immediately after Mr. Washington's death Mrs. Washington received the
following note from Madame Paderewski:

     _New York, November 15, 1916._

     _Mrs. Booker T. Washington, Tuskegee, Alabama._

     MY DEAR MRS. WASHINGTON: It was with a feeling of personal
     loss that I read this morning of the death of Dr.
     Washington. I have always admired his courage and wonderful
     ability, and his passing at this time brings a double
     sorrow, for in this morning's mail I received a copy of the
     _Tuskegee Student_ containing my letter and appeal to Dr.
     Washington. I wish it had been possible for me to have
     thanked him for what he has done, but I am sure that the
     Heavenly Father will bless this and the many other good
     works with which he was connected.

     I desire you to know how much I appreciate the kindness of
     Dr. Washington and how highly I esteemed him. Please accept
     my deep sympathy and believe me,

     Very sincerely yours,


Although apparently indifferent to the treatment he received from
those about him Booker Washington was in reality, as has been said,
unusually sensitive. No matter what his engagements he always insisted
upon being at home with his wife and children on Thanksgiving Day and
on Christmas. One Christmas, about ten years ago, it so happened that
no Christmas presents were provided for him. The children gave
presents to one another and to their mother and she to them, but
through oversight there were no presents for Mr. Washington. Mrs.
Washington says that after the presents had been opened her husband
drew her aside and said in broken tones: "Maggie, they've not given me
a single Christmas present!" From then on Mrs. Washington saw to it
that the children remembered their father at Christmas.

In Birmingham, Ala., about three years before his death, he and his
secretary entered an office building one day to call on one of the
Tuskegee Trustees whose office was on the top floor. When they looked
for an elevator they were referred by the hall man to the elevator for
colored people. On this elevator was a sign reading, "For Negroes and
Freight." His secretary expected him to comment on this, but he said
nothing and seemed hardly to notice it. That evening, in addressing
a great audience of both races in one of the big theatres of the city,
he was urging the Negroes to look upon their Southern white neighbors
as their friends and to turn to them for advice when he said very
slowly and distinctly: "I visited, this morning, a building which had
on the elevator for colored people a sign reading, 'For Negroes and
Freight.' Now, my friends, that is mighty discouraging to the colored
man!" At this not only the colored people, but the white people sprang
to their feet and shouted, many of them, "You're right, Doctor!"
"That's mean!" "That's not fair!" and other such expressions.

[Illustration: Mr. Washington feeding his chickens with green stuffs
raised in his own garden.]

[Illustration: Mr. Washington in his onion patch.]

[Illustration: Mr. Washington sorting in his lettuce bed.]

Every morning before breakfast when at home Mr. Washington would visit
his chickens, pigs, and cows. He said of finding the newly laid eggs:
"I like to find the new eggs each morning myself, and am selfish
enough to permit no one else to do this in my place. As with growing
plants, there is a sense of freshness and newness and restfulness in
connection with the finding and handling of newly laid eggs that is
delightful to me. Both the realization and the anticipation are most
pleasing. I begin the day by seeing how many eggs I can find or how
many little chicks there are that are just beginning to creep through
the shells. I am deeply interested in the different kinds of fowls,
and always grow a number of different breeds at my own home."

But none of the animals interested him and aroused his enthusiasm as
did the pigs. He always kept on his own place some choice specimens of
Berkshires and Poland Chinas at whose shrine he worshipped each
morning. Also he always insisted that the swine herd of the Institute
be kept recruited up to full strength and in fact considerably beyond
full strength in the opinion of the Agricultural Director who in vain
protested that it was not profitable to keep so large a herd. It would
be interesting to know whether the great economic importance of the
pig to his race was at the bottom of Booker Washington's fondness for
the animal.

After breakfast he mounted his horse and made a round of the Institute
farms, truck gardens, dormitories, and shops before going to his
office and attacking his huge correspondence. This correspondence,
both in its dimensions and catholicity, was typical of the man. His
daily incoming mail amounted to between 125 and 150 letters. The
outgoing ran to between 500 and 1,000 letters daily--in large part, of
course, "campaign letters,"--as he called them, letters seeking to
interest new friends in the work of the Institute, and others keeping
in touch with friends already interested, etc. His advice, opinion, or
comments were sought on every conceivable subject both by serious and
sensible men and women and by cranks of both races. Hundreds of the
humbler people of his own race were constantly applying to him for
information and advice as to whether it would be profitable to start
this or that business venture, or whether or not it would be possible
to establish a school in this or that community, and how they should
set about it.

Booker Washington's sense of justice was unquenchable. While at
Coden-on-the-Bay, near Mobile, Ala., in September, 1915, snatching a
few days of rest and recreation as a palliative for the insidious
disease which was so soon to end his life, he was distressed by a
newspaper report of the killing of a number of Haitians by United
States Marines. He read the report in a Mobile paper late one
afternoon on his return from a fishing trip. He went to bed but could
not sleep. The misfortunes of the turbulent little black republic
seethed through his mind. Early in the morning, while his companions
were still sleeping, he awakened the inevitable stenographer and
dictated an article counselling patience in dealing with the
unfortunate little country. This article, dictated by a dying man on
the impulse of the moment, briefly recites the history of Haiti from
the period over a hundred years ago when the people of the island
wrested their liberty from France under the leadership of Toussaint
L'Ouverture, up to the present time. He then says in part:

"Associated Press dispatches a few days ago stated that forty or fifty
Haitians had been killed on Haytian soil in one day by American
marines and a number of marines wounded. To every black man in the
United States this dispatch brought a feeling of disappointment and
sorrow. While, as I have stated, the United States, under the
circumstances, was compelled to take notice of conditions in Haiti and
is being compelled to control matters, largely because of the fault of
the Haitians, I had hoped that the United States would be patient in
dealing with the Haitian Government and people. The United States has
been patient with Germany. It has been patient in the Philippines. It
has been exceedingly patient in dealing with Mexico. I hope this
country will be equally patient and more than patient in dealing with
Haiti--a weaker and more unfortunate country!

"I very much wish that it might have been possible for the United
States to have taken a little more time in making known to the
Haitians the purposes we have in mind in taking over the control of
their custom houses and their governmental affairs. While everything
that we intend to do, and have in mind to do, is perfectly plain to
the officials of the United States, we must remember that all this is
not perfectly plain to the Haitians. It would have been worth while,
in my opinion, before attempting arbitrarily to force Haiti to sign
the treaty put before its officials, to have spent a little time and a
little patience in informing the Haitian people of the unselfish
benevolence of our intentions. They, in time, would have understood
why it is necessary to intervene in their affairs.

"Another reason, in my opinion, why patience may be manifested in this
matter is that the treaty, even at the best, cannot be ratified by the
United States Senate until it meets in regular session in December,
unless the President calls it in special session earlier.

"I confess that while I am unschooled in such matters, since reading
the treaty the Haitians have been told they must ratify, it seems to
me rather harsh and precipitate; one cannot be surprised that the
Haitians have hesitated to agree to all the conditions provided for in
this treaty. No wonder they have hesitated when they have had so
little time in which to understand it, when the masses of the Haitian
people know little or nothing of what the treaty contemplates.

"The way matters are now going, there is likely to be bitterness and
war. The United States, in the end, will conquer, will control, will
have its way, but it is one thing to conquer a people through love,
through unselfish interest in their welfare, and another thing to
conquer them through the bullet, through the shotgun. Shooting
civilization into the Haitians on their own soil will be an amazing
spectacle. Sending marines as diplomats and Mauser bullets as
messengers of destruction breed riot and anarchy, and are likely to
leave a legacy of age-long hatreds and regrets.

"I also hope the United States will not pursue a mere negative policy
in Haiti, that is, a policy of controlling the customs and what-not,
without going further in progressive, constructive directions. In a
word, the United States now has an opportunity to do a big piece of
fine work for Haiti in the way of education, something the island has
never had. I hope some way will be provided by which a portion of the
revenues will be used in giving the people a thorough, up-to-date
system of common school, agricultural, and industrial education. Here
is an excellent opportunity for some of the young colored men and
women of the United States who have been educated in the best methods
of education in this country to go to Haiti and help their fellows.
Here is an opportunity for some of the most promising Haitian boys
and girls to be sent to schools in the United States. Here is an
opportunity for us to use our influence and power in giving the
Haitians something they have never had, and that is education, real
education. At least 95 per cent. of the people, as I have said, are
unlettered and ignorant so far as books are concerned."

Booker Washington's self-control was never more needed than on an
occasion at Tuskegee described by T. Thomas Fortune, the Negro author
and publicist. A Confederate veteran who had lost an arm fighting for
the Confederacy and who had served for a number of years in Congress
was on the program to speak at a Tuskegee meeting. This Confederate
veteran had a great liking for Mr. Washington and believed in his
ideas on the importance of industrial education for the colored
people. Mr. Fortune says:

"John C. Dancy, a colored man, at that time Collector of Customs at
Wilmington, N.C., was to speak first, the Confederate veteran second,
and I was to follow the latter. Mr. Dancy is an unusually bright and
eloquent man. Mr. Dancy paid a glowing tribute to the New England men
and women who had built up the educational interest among the colored
people after the war, of which Hampton and Tuskegee Institutes are
lasting monuments. Mr. Dancy had plenty of applause from the great
concourse of countrymen, but his address made the white speaker
furious. When the former Congressman was called upon to speak he
showed plainly that he was agitated out of his self-restraint.
Without any introductory remarks whatever, he said, as I remember it:

"'I have written this address for you,' waving it at the audience,
'but I will not deliver it. I want to give you niggers a few words of
plain talk and advice. No such address as you have just listened to is
going to do you any good; it's going to spoil you. You had better not
listen to such speeches. You might just as well understand that this
is a white man's country, as far as the South is concerned, and we are
going to make you keep your place. Understand that. I have nothing
more to say to you.'

"The audience was taken back as much by the bluntness of the remarks
as if they had been doused with cold water. Indignation was everywhere
visible on the countenances of the people. But Mr. Washington appeared
unruffled. On the contrary, his heavy jaw was hard set and his eyes
danced in a merry measure. It was a time to keep one's temper and
wits, and he did so, as usual. Without betraying any feeling in the
matter, and when everybody expected him to announce the next speaker,
he said:

"'Ladies and Gentlemen: I am sure you will agree with me that we have
had enough eloquence for one occasion. We shall listen to the next
speaker at another occasion, when we are not so fagged out. We will
now rise, sing the doxology, and be dismissed.'

"The audience did so, but it was the most funereal proceeding I had
ever witnessed upon such an occasion. Mr. Washington's imperturbable
good nature alone saved the day."

Some time after President Roosevelt had begun to consult Booker
Washington on practically all his appointments and policies which
particularly affected the relations between the races, and after
several Southern white men had been given Federal appointments on Mr.
Washington's recommendation, the bitterness against him grew so
intense, especially among the "Talented Tenth" element of the Northern
Negroes, that he decided to meet a group of their leaders face to
face, and have it out. Accordingly, through Mr. Fortune, he arranged
to meet a number of these men at a dinner at Young's Hotel in Boston.
Mr. Fortune thus describes what took place:

"At the proper time, when the coffee and cigars were served, I arose
and told the diners that Dr. Washington had desired to meet them at
the banquet table and at the proper time to have each one of them
express freely his opinion of the race question, and how best the race
could be served in the delicate crisis through which it was then
passing. Each of the speakers launched into a tirade against Dr.
Washington and his policies and methods, many of them in lofty flights
of speech they had learned at Harvard University. The atmosphere was
dense with discontent and denunciation.

"The climax was reached when William H. Lewis, the famous Harvard
football coach, told Dr. Washington to go back South, and attend to
his work of educating the Negro and 'leave to us the matters political
affecting the race.' Every eye was upon Dr. Washington's face, but
none of them could read anything in it; it was as inscrutable as a
wooden Indian's. When every one of them had had his say, I called upon
Dr. Washington to respond to the speakers who had unburdened
themselves. Dr. Washington rose slowly, and with a slip of paper in
his hand, said:

"'Gentlemen, I want to tell you about what we are doing at Tuskegee
Institute in the Black Belt of Alabama.'

"For more than a half-hour he told them of the needs and the work
without once alluding to anything that had been said in heat and anger
by those to whom he spoke. He held them close to him by his simple
recital, with here and there a small blaze of eloquence, and then
thanking them for the candor with which they had spoken, sat down.
They were all disappointed, as they expected that he would attempt to
excuse himself for the things they had complained of."

At the time of Mr. Washington's death, the same William H. Lewis, who
told him at this time to go back to the South and attend to his work
and "leave to us the matters political affecting the race," said of

"Words, like tears, are vain and idle things to express the great
anguish I feel at the untimely death of Booker Washington. He was my
friend who understood me and believed in me. I did not always believe
in him because I did not understand him. I first saw and heard him
when a junior at Amherst in the early 90's, when he spoke at Old John
Brown's church in Springfield, where I journeyed to hear him. I could
not then appreciate his love for the Southern people and his gospel of
work. I even doubted his loyalty to his race. When I came to Boston I
joined in with his most violent and bitterest critics. The one thing
that I am so thankful for is that I early saw the light and came to
appreciate and understand the great work of Booker T. Washington.

"I have just finished reading an old letter from him, date, October 1,
1901, in which he said: 'The main point of this letter is to say I
believe that both you and I are going to be in a position in the
future to serve the race effectually, and while it is very probable
that we shall always differ as to detailed methods of lifting up the
race, it seems to me that if we agree in each doing our best to lift
it up the main point will have been gained, and I am sure that in our
anxiety to better the condition of the race there is no difference
between us, and I shall be delighted to work in hearty coöperation
with you.'

"Since then, I have known him intimately and well. He was unselfish
and generous to a fault; he was modest yet masterful; he was quiet yet
intense; his common sense and sagacity seemed uncanny, such was his
knowledge of human nature. His was a great soul in which no bitterness
or littleness could even find a lurking place. His was the great heart
of Lincoln, with malice toward none and charity for all. He loved all
men and all men loved him.

"My humble prayer is that his torch has lighted another among the dark
millions of America, to lead the race onward and upward."

Booker Washington's insistence that the classrooms, shops, and farms
were for the development of the students rather than the students for
their development was well illustrated by a remark he once made to
Bishop William Lawrence of Massachusetts when the Bishop was visiting
the Institute. In reply to Bishop Lawrence's question as to whether he
had chosen the best available land for his agricultural work, he said,
"No, sir, I chose pretty nearly the poorest land I could find. I chose
land on which men would have to spend all their energies to bring out
the life in the land. They work here under the hardest conditions.
When they go out to other lands--to their own lands, perhaps--they
won't find any worse land to till. If they find any better land the
difference will be all gain for them."

Perhaps more remarkable than any or all of his achievements was the
fact that Booker Washington was a gentleman. It would be difficult to
find a man who better conformed to the exacting yet illusive
requirements of that term. He had not only the naturalness and the
goodness of heart which are the fundamentals, but he had also the
breeding and the polish which distinguish the finished gentleman from
the "rough diamond." This fact about Booker Washington has been well
described by Hamilton Wright Mabie in an article entitled: "Booker T.
Washington: Gentleman," in which he says in part:

"Booker Washington became one of the foremost men in America; he was
heard on great occasions by great audiences with profound attention;
he was a writer and speaker of National position, the founder of a
college, and the organizing leader of a race in ideas and industry.
These were notable achievements; but there was another achievement
which was in its way more notable. Without any advantages of birth or
station or training, a member of an ostracized race, with the doors of
social life closed in his face, Dr. Washington was a gentleman. I
recall two illustrations of this quality of nature, often lacking in
men of great ability and usefulness. The first was in Stafford House,
London, the residence of the Duke of Sutherland. The older Duke was
the lifelong friend of Queen Victoria; and once, when she was going to
Stafford House, she wrote the Duke that she was about to leave her
uninteresting house for his beautiful palace. Nothing could be more
stately than the great hall of Stafford House, with its two marble
stairways ascending to the galleries above; and when the Duchess of
Sutherland, standing on the dais from which the stairs ascended,
received her guests she reminded more than one of her guests of the
splendid picture drawn by Edmund Burke of Marie Antoinette moving like
a star through the palace of Versailles. On that evening Dr.
Washington was present. At one time in one of the rooms he happened to
be talking with the duchess and two other women of high rank, two of
them women of great beauty and stateliness. There were some people
present who were evidently very much impressed by their surroundings.
Booker Washington seemed to be absolutely unconscious of the splendor
of the house in which he was, or of the society in which for the
moment he found himself. Born in a hut without a door-sill, he was at
ease in the most stately and beautiful private palace in London.

"On another occasion there was to be a Tuskegee meeting at Bar Harbor.
The Casino had been beautifully decorated for a dance the night
before. The harbor was full of yachts, the tennis courts of
fine-looking young men and women; it was a picture of luxury tempered
with intelligence. Mr. Washington was looking out of the window.
Presently he turned to me and said, with a smile, 'And last Wednesday
morning I was eating breakfast in a shanty in Alabama; there were five
of us and we had one spoon!'"

At the time of his stay in London, during which this reception at
Stafford House took place, he was given a luncheon by a group of
distinguished men to which Mr. Asquith, the Prime Minister, was
invited. In reply, Mr. Asquith sent this note:

     _10 Downing Street, Whitehall, S.W._
       _26th September, 1910._

     DEAR SIR: I much regret that my engagements do not allow me
     to accept your invitation to be present at the luncheon
     which it is proposed to give in honor of Mr. Booker T.
     Washington. I feel sure, however, that he will be welcomed
     with a cordiality which his persistent and successful labors
     in the cause of the education of the American Negro deserve,
     especially at the hands of English men, whose difficulties
     in many parts of the Empire have been helped toward a
     solution by the results of his work.

     Yours faithfully,

     [Signed] H.H. ASQUITH.

While at home, no matter how pressed and driven with work, Booker
Washington snatched an hour or so every day for hunting or riding.
This daily exercise became a fetich with him which he clung to with
unreasonable obstinacy. He would frequently set off upon these hunts
or rides in so exhausted a condition that obviously their only effect
could be worse exhaustion. His intense admiration for Theodore
Roosevelt probably had its influence, conscious or unconscious, in
strengthening his devotion to violent outdoor exercise.

Whatever he was doing or wherever he was, his mind seemed constantly
at work along constructive lines. At the most unexpected times and
places he would suddenly call the inevitable stenographer and dictate
some idea for an article or address or some plan for the improvement
of Tuskegee or for the betterment of the whole race in this or that
particular. He would sometimes reduce his immediate subordinates to
the verge of despair by pouring out upon them in rapid succession
constructive suggestions each one of which meant hours, days, and even
weeks of time to work out, and then calling for the results of all
before even one could be fairly put into effect. This tendency became
particularly marked in his closing years when the consciousness of an
immense amount of work to be done and a short and constantly lessening
period in which to do it must have become an obsession and almost a
nightmare to him.

He would sometimes wound the feelings of acquaintances and friends,
particularly his teachers, by passing them on the street and even
looking at them without recognition. This naturally was not
intentional, nor was it because his mind was wool-gathering, but
merely because he was thinking out some idea with which the people and
events immediately about him had for the moment no connection and were
consequently totally obliterated from his consciousness.

Mr. Washington's strength of will and determination were never better
shown than in the closing hours of his life. When he was told by his
doctors at St. Luke's Hospital, New York, whither he had been taken by
the New York trustees of the Institute after his final collapse, that
he had but a few hours to live, he insisted upon starting for home at
once. His physicians expostulated and warned him that in his condition
he could not reasonably expect to survive the journey. He insisted
that he must go and be true to his oft-repeated assertion, "I was born
in the South, I have lived and labored in the South, and I expect to
die and be buried in the South." This remark, when sent out in the
Associated Press dispatches announcing his death, touched the South as
nothing else could have. No Negro was ever eulogized in the Southern
press as he was. Long accounts of his career and death with
sympathetic and appreciative editorial comments appeared in most of
the Southern papers.

One of the doctors who was called in to attend him at the time he was
taken to the hospital remarked that it was "uncanny to see a man up
and about who ought by all the laws of nature to be dead." In this
condition, then, he set out upon the long journey from New York to
Tuskegee. When the party reached the Pennsylvania Station an invalid's
chair was awaiting him, but he declined to use it, and leaning on the
arms of his companions walked or rather tottered to his seat in the
train. As soon as the train began to move Southward a slight
invigoration of triumph seemed to come over him which increased as the
journey continued, until at its close he seemed stronger than when he
started. All along the way he would inquire at frequent intervals what
point they had reached. The reaching and passing of each important
station such as Greensboro, Charlotte, and Atlanta he would seem to
score up in his mind's eye as a new triumph. And when finally he
reached Chehaw, the little station five miles from Tuskegee, he was
fairly trembling with eager expectancy. As we have said, he reached
Tuskegee apparently stronger than when he left New York and strong
enough to enjoy the final triumph of his indomitable will over his
overworked and weakened body. The next morning, November 14, 1915, he
was dead.

Of the myriads of tributes to Booker Washington by white men and black
both North and South, which were spoken from platforms and pulpits and
printed in newspapers and periodicals throughout the length and
breadth not only of America but the world, there are two which we feel
irresistibly compelled to use in concluding this chapter and book. One
is the tribute of a former student, Isaac Fisher, president of the
Tuskegee Alumni Association, speaking for the graduates at the
memorial exercises held at Tuskegee on December 12, 1915; the other
is the tribute of one of his teachers, Clement Richardson, head of the
division of English, speaking in effect for the Tuskegee teachers in
an article published in the _Survey_ of December 4, 1915.

At this memorial meeting, after being introduced by Seth Low, Chairman
of the Board of Trustees, as the representative of the Tuskegee Alumni
Association, Mr. Fisher said:

"Mr. Chairman: The greatest citizens of this nation have paused long
enough to pay tributes of honor to the memory of Dr. Washington; and
to-night some of the world's most distinguished citizens are present
to say their words of love for the departed chieftain whose body lies
in a grave just outside of those walls. In the presence of these great
men I do not see why you have asked me, one of the least of all, to
add my simple praise.

"But I can say that no persons have sustained so great a loss as have
the members of the Tuskegee Alumni Association; and I come to bear
testimony to the depth and sincerity of their grief.

"There is a story which has not yet been told, in connection with the
spread of industrial education in the South and throughout the entire
country. I must tell that story here before I can make clear just how
great is the Alumni's loss.

"In telling of the spread of industrial education, during the past
twenty-five years, we seem not to know that the work has been
difficult and prosecuted at great sacrifice on the part of the
Tuskegee graduates who have sought to interpret Dr. Washington's
theory that economic fitness was the basis of racial growth in many
other directions.

"The people did not take kindly to this form of education, believing
that it was the same old slavery from which we have emerged under a
new name; and the Tuskegee graduates have prosecuted their work in the
face of the misrepresentations, prejudice, opposition, and ridicule of
those of their own race who could or would not understand the spirit
of industrial education--a spirit broader and finer than the phrase
suggests. More than this: in the communities where they have worked it
has been the fashion to permit our graduates to do the difficult tasks
and carry all the burdens of leadership; but if there were any honors
to be bestowed, they were given to the graduates of other schools.

"Being human and denied those honors and public marks of esteem which
always gladden the heart, these Tuskegee men and women have often
grown discouraged and have been tempted to lay down their work. But
like Daniel, when those gloomy hours came, they have turned their
faces toward Jerusalem, to Tuskegee, over which the great spirit of
Dr. Washington brooded and lived; and from this place he has sent back
to them whenever they have called, encouragement, counsel, and help.

"Sometimes they have been so depressed that they have come to Tuskegee
just to see and talk with their prophet once more and to be baptized
again in his sweet and noble spirit. Many times we have seen them here
and wondered at their presence. They were here to receive comfort,
and to hear Mr. Washington say in his own convincing manner: 'It has
been my experience that if a man will do the right thing and go ahead,
everything will be all right at last.' And these men and women who
have sat at his feet and who trusted him have gone back to their work
with new and increasing strength.

"But now Dr. Washington is gone, and the graduates of the school will
never again receive his counsel and encouragement, however gloomy
their paths may be. That is the measure of our loss.

"And yet our Principal is not buried out yonder. It is his tired body
which is resting just beyond that wall; but he is not buried in that
grave. The real Dr. Washington is buried in the graduates who sat at
his feet and imbibed his spirit, and he lives in them.

"King David, pondering over God's mercies and goodness to him,
thinking of how he had been taken from minding sheep and placed upon
the throne of Israel; and how God had guided and protected him and
made his name great in the earth, exclaimed reverently, one day, 'What
shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits unto me?' and he
answered his question, in part, by saying: 'I will pay my vows unto
the Lord now in the presence of all the people.'

"If all our graduates could speak to-night, they would have me pay
their vows of gratitude for the opportunity to make blessed and
beautiful their lives, given by our great teacher; and they would have
me give public assurance of their fealty to the work for which Mr.
Washington gave his life.

"And so, Mr. Chairman, in the name of the Alumni Association and in
the spirit of him whose body lies buried just beyond those walls, I
pledge you and the Trustees the loyalty of the Tuskegee graduates to
whatever work they are called in connection with the realization of
Dr. Washington's great purpose. I pledge you their support in the work
which you have come to Tuskegee to perform; because we are learning
self-government and wish to help prove to the world that we can pass
the succession to the Principalship here without revolution. By this
time to-morrow night another prophet will have been raised up to serve
in the room of the great founder of this school. I want you, Sir, and
the Board of Trustees to know that when the proclamation is made that
'The King is Dead!' our Alumni Association will be ready to reply:
'Long Live the King!' and we will faithfully, honestly, and loyally
support the person you elect to succeed our great father, whoever that
person may be.

"In the furtherance of Dr. Washington's work, the graduates stand
ready to say:

     "'I'll go where you want me to go, dear Lord,
       O'er the mountain, or plain, or sea;
     I'll say what you want me to say, dear Lord;
       I'll be what you want me to be.'"

In the _Survey_ article, after briefly describing the ups and downs of
Mr. Washington's long fight against a breaking constitution, Mr.
Richardson says:

"With such perpetual rallying power who could cope? A latent feeling
crept among many that he was immune to pain as he had been to insult
and abuse. You know he could steer on over an insult and never see it.
Some of us shook our heads and said, 'Why he is good for ten years
yet.' Seeing that he thus defied nerves and baffled pain, we hoped. It
was in the hour of hope that the last stroke came, and we felt that
pulling at the throat which we should have felt had he gone by sudden

"How Tuskegee took Dr. Washington's death can probably best be
appreciated by an account of what his life meant among his teachers.
Officially he was a stern and exacting task master. A tireless worker
himself, he imposed heavy tasks upon others. In the home, however, he
had a genius for cheering by little kindnesses and by a thoughtful
word. Now he would send around a basket of vegetables from his garden,
now a cut of one of his pigs which he had killed and in which he took
great delight.

"People who sent books and pictures to Tuskegee can hardly realize
what a double pleasure they were shipping: the pleasure they gave him
and others through him. He would have the boxes opened and books and
pictures brought in to his office. Then from all his heaps of
correspondence, from business engagements, from matters of national
importance, he would turn aside and go through these himself, culling
them out. He would sort a pile here for this family; one there for
another, according to what he considered would suit each. Many a time
one could scarcely find a place to step in his office for the
pictures and books. In all things he received, but to share.

"Then he had a way of kicking organizations to pieces for a few
minutes. If some rural school had a creditable exhibit he would order
that the senior class, 150 strong, should be taken there, whether it
was one mile or ten miles away. He would order the class out to see
how some poor, illiterate farmer had raised a bumper crop of peas,
corn, sugar cane, and peanuts, how he surrounded himself with
conveniences, both inside and outside the home. Now he would declare a
half holiday; now he would allow the students to sleep a half-hour
later in the morning.

"In the same way the teachers would get an outing once or twice a
year, sometimes at night, sometimes in the day. As the teachers are on
duty for both day and night school, and as the students usually rise
at 5:30 and breakfast at 6, these little breaks were windfalls. They
sent each one back to his labors with a smile. He knew the value of
change and the psychology of cheer. No wonder then that when death
closed his eyes both teachers and students went about heavy of limb
and with eyes that told too plainly what the heart felt.

"Just as he touched the students and teachers with little thoughtful
deeds so he touched the town and State, both white and black. One
feature of his funeral illustrated how complete had been his triumph
over narrow prejudices. He was always talking about the white man up
the hollow, back in the woods. How many times have I heard him urge
picturesquely upon gatherings of teachers to 'win that old fellow
who, when you begin to talk Negro education and Negro schoolhouse,
scratches his head, leans to one side, and looks far away. That's the
man,' he would say, 'that you've got to convince that Negro education
is not a farce.'

"Well, that man was at Booker T. Washington's funeral. He came there
on foot, on horseback, in buggies, in wagons. He was there in working
clothes, in slouched hat, with no collar.

"During the service I chanced to stand near the end of the platform.
Pretty soon I felt a rough brushing against my elbow. As I turned I
saw a small white child, poorly clad, being thrust upon the end of the
flower-laden platform. Then followed an old white man, collarless,
wearing a dingy blue shirt and a coat somewhat tattered. After him
came two strapping fellows, apparently his sons. All grouped
themselves there and listened eagerly, freely spitting their tobacco
juice on the platform steps and on the floor.

"How thankful would Dr. Washington have been for their presence. What
a triumph! Ten years ago those men would not stop at the school. They
cursed it, cursed the whole system and the man at the head of it. But
quietly, persistently, he had gone on with that everlasting doctrine
that service can win even the meanest heart, that an institution had
the right to survive in just so far as it dovetailed its life into the
life of all the people. Beautiful to behold, to remember forever;
there was no race and no class in the Tuskegee chapel on Wednesday
morning, November 17th; heart went out to heart that a common friend
had gone.

"Broken as everybody is over the loss, no one is afraid. No panic as
to the future of the school disturbs the breasts of the 190 odd
teachers here. In the first place, poor as most of us are, we are
ready to suffer many a privation before we see the institution slip
back the slightest fraction of an inch. All these years it has been on
trial, on record. It has been a test, not of a mere school, but of a
race. A tacit pledge--not a word has thus far been spoken--has gone
out among us that it shall remain on record, that it shall stand here
as a breathing evidence that Negroes can bring things to pass.

"Back of this is the unshaken faith in our Board of Trustees. I doubt
if such another board exists. It is made up of white men and black
men, of men of the North and men of the South. There is not a
figurehead among them. Though intensely engaged they go into the
details of the workings of the school, getting close to the inner
workings and to the lives of the teachers and students.

"Finally, we are confident that the public will have a good deal to
say before Tuskegee is let die. The beaten path has been made to her
door. Her methods have not only been commended but adopted wholly or
in part both in this country and in other lands. Her use is
undisputed. She takes students almost literally out of the gutter,
puts them on their feet, and sends them out honest, peaceful, useful
citizens. This is the ideal for which Dr. Washington struggled, and
over which his life-cord snapped too soon.

"For the same ideal the people at Tuskegee, though broken in spirit,
are willing to spend themselves; for they are confident that their
cause is just and that the world is with them."




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