Booker T Washington Influence On African Americans

The Progressive Era was a period of time to objectively remove problems caused by immigration, industrialization, corruption in the government, and urbanization. Many people had an influential effect during this era, such as Samuel Gompers, Theodore Roosevelt, Jane Addams, Susan B. Anthony, and so much more. But, out of all of these people, Booker T. Washington had one of the biggest influences on African Americans. This is because he opened a school for training other African American teachers, helped form the National Negro Business League, and wrote the book, Up from Slavery. Although some saw Washington as a hero, many others saw him as a betrayer, due to his speech called, “The Atlanta Compromise.”

Booker T. Washington was born a slave on a Virginia Plantation, to Jane Ferguson, and an unknown man. During his early life, Washington had to do very difficult tasks, while working as a slave. He was even beaten sometimes for not performing the tasks adequately. The Civil War had ended just when Washington was nine years old, and his family decided to move to Malden, West Virginia. This is where his mother, Jane, met Washington Ferguson. Every morning, Booker and Washington got up and went to work nearby salt furnaces. In 1866,
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Washington influenced many African Americans, he was also seen as a betrayer to others. This is because of his speech held in Atlanta known as, “The Atlanta Compromise.” In this speech, Booker talked about how African Americans should accept their segregation, and to work hard until the day comes where the white community accepts them. This angered several people, including famous figure, W.E.B. Du Bois. He argued that Booker should be fighting for the right to earn equality, and not just accept disfranchisement. Some of Du Bois’s critics were true, since African Americans did not have the right to vote, due to Jim Crow laws. After Washington’s death, supporters of his speech moved onto to other civil rights

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