Professor Booker T. Washington
by, 03-23-2009 at 10:07 PM (43986 Views)
It is a commonly held belief that Booker T. Washington was sold out. It's funny that's the commonly had view of too many of our leaders. Too many of the REAL sell outs are paraded as celebrities, but I will not name names. Please don't ask me too either but if you are really interested in who's a "sell out" and etc check out the thread SHUT UP! in the Contest Zone you may find what you are looking or this one called drop squad. Anyways back to the topic at hand, Prof. Washington.
I too once believe Prof. Washington was a sell out because I was ignorant and foolish enough to listen to others without doing research on a matter. Then I heard a lecture by the Master Teacher Dr. John H. Clarke. In this lecture he talked about Prof. Washington in the same light as Marcus Garvey and Malcolm X. So I was like woo! What a minute!? I think it's time I re-consider my position on Prof. Washington. I've since then have re-considered my position on many individuals and groups in our history. Then I learned Prof. Washington was a great influence on Marcus Garvey,
"I read 'Up From Slavery,' by Booker T. Washington, and then my doom - if I may so call it - of being a race leader dawned upon me in London..."
"I have been keeping in touch with your good work in America, and although there is a difference of opinion on the lines on which the Negro should develop himself, yet the fair minded critic cannot fail in admiring your noble efforts."
"I visited Tuskegee and paid my respects to the dead hero, Booker Washington, and then returned to New York, where I organized the New York division of the Universal Negro Improvement Association."
All quotes are Marcus Garvey's words and come from the book, "The Marcus Garvey and Universal Negro Improvement Association papers" by Robert A. Hill and Marcus Garvey. So I said to myself I must learn what the hype is about. Why some called him a sell out and why he was an inspiration to one of the greatest Pan-African leader of all time and viewed highly by one of the greatest Pan-African scholars of all time. So I bought Up From Slavery and Black Diamonds and when I finally got around to reading the books like 2 years later it became very obvious why he is praised, rightfully so, and is recklessly dissed by some. One important fact you have to realize when reading any material from the 1800s and early 1900s is that our people were unmistakably aware of white terrorism so they spoke on certain areas very cautiously. The second thing you have to understand is Pan-African cultural scholarship was not strong yet so most cultural ideas were European - this 2nd idea doesn't vary much today except most of our scholars and activist won't sway people to European culture though they are practitioners of it. If one is critical you will see these two points hold true even for Marcus Garvey. So in knowing these two things I can say I'm a major fan of Prof. Washington. Just as I'm a major fan of Malcolm X, Elijah Muhammad, Kwame Ture, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Dr. Clarke, Fidel, Chavez, SCLC, SNCC, and others. If you will notice all the persons and their respective organizations were institution builders and educators.
Booker T. Washington was able to turn a shack into a million dollar institution dedicated to improving the life of Black people. This was his life mission and he succeeded. At one point majority of the Black industrial workers all across the South came from Tuskegee Institute. Many people talk about sustainable living and going back to nature and working off the land and etc, Booker T. Washington should be your hero! He focused exclusively on industry and farming. In his travels to Europe many people would obverse the landscape, the politics, the people, Prof. Washington did all of this and obverse the animals in one part of Up From Slavery he commented on how well raised a pig was - he was in Europe, out of the county for the first time and he was taking notice to well raised farm animals! One of his favorite activities was to go in the back yard and garden and tend to livestock. He felt you MUST learn to learn to use your hands. He felt you MUST learn to love hard work. The ideas he taught are all of the skills and talents necessary to build a nation. I'll try to write some quotes from the two books.
"A fool in Africa is not better than a fool in America"
"No one cares for a man with empty head and pocket, no matter what his color is"
"Learn all you can, but learn to do something, or your learning will be useless"
"The fact that a man goes into the world conscious that he has within himself the power to create a wagon or a house gives him a certain moral backbone and independence in the world that he could not possess without it"
"Two nations or races are good friends in proportion as the one has something by way of trade that the other wants"
"Physical death comes to the one Negro lynched in a county, but death of the morals, death of the soul, comes to the thousands responsible for the lynching"
All above quotes from Black Diamonds: The Wisdom of Booker T. Washington
"I further contended that, in relation to his vote, the Negro should more and more consider the interests of the community in which he lived, rather than seek alone to please some one who lived a thousand miles away from him and from his interests."
"I tried to emphasize the fact that while the Negro should not be deprived by unfair means of the franchise, political agitation alone would not save him, and that back of the ballot he must have property, industry, skill, economy, intelligence, and character, and that no race without these elements could permanently succeed."
"I have found that the happiest people are those who do the most for others; the most miserable are those who do the least. I have also found that few things, if any, are capable of making one so blind and narrow as race prejudice."
All above quotes from Up From Slavery.
The quotes above by no means represent the best of the best quotes but the quotes I found the quickest. I encourage everyone to read the books on their own. Up From Slavery can be found everywhere and the other book Black Diamonds well that's another story. Also learn from my young foolish mistake and research on your own you might just find something out useful like your history. Malcolm X once said, "Of all our studies, history is best qualified to reward our research." So go be rewarded!
Pan-Africanism or Perish!
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