Booker T. Washington learned how to work around whites to get what he wanted, and took many tours around the United States to teach other blacks. Racism has been around for years, and remains around today. The difference is that it was much more cruel back then. There were many racist views expressed by whites toward blacks in the 19th century. After Reconstruction, whites began to really express these views. They had seen that blacks had been involved in many black political activities and it pissed them off. They also were mad since they had lost the Civil War.
They claimed that: “Blacks had had their fair chance, had demonstrated their present incapacity for self-government, and could justifiably be relegated, for time being at least, to an inferior status. ” Black people where humiliated, beaten, and thrown in jail, and even killed. Whites also controlled blacks’ futures economically. They established black codes to ensure that blacks had stable labor force, which designated “servants” as employees and “masters” as employers. This prevented blacks from vagrancy or loitering, making them work even if they did not want to. Booker T.
Washington was a very smart man, well at least I think he is. He knew how to get what he wanted, the psychology of “Black Survivalism”. He uses many survivalist tactics he used on white people to gain improved living conditions for blacks. Many people feel that he was a sellout, he was, but it gained from it. Washington believed that black people’s problems would be solved if they worked like whites needed. If they would abide by the law and cooperate, the industrial education would provide them with an economic niche. Eventually, he believed this would lead to economic independence.
Of course, white people thought that Washington was trying to promote segregation and black inferiority. He was not trying to promote segregation, but he was going for black inferiority. Black people needed to do this. Washington was basically saying that if black people continued to work in their field, and other fields, they had the upper hand. They would learn all the techniques, and know everything about that field. Whites did not work, so they knew nothing. Without the blacks, they could not make any money. Booker T. Washington took many tours.
The tour that I was most interested in was his tour of Florida. This caught my attention I live here in Florida. This is apart of its history. Washington started his tour of Florida on March 1, 1912. It lasted from March 1st til March 7th. His tour was sponsored by The Florida State Negro Business League. FSNBL was made up of businessmen and women who believed that they could form a “good strong organization” that would “benefit and up build the colored race”. They accomplished exactly what they wanted. Booker T. Washington’s first stop on the was Pensacola.
Pensacola was the home of Matthew Lewey, the publisher of the first black newspaper in Florida, the Florida Sentinel. This was not only Lewey’s home though, it was mine also. I lived in Pensacola most of my life before moving to Tallahassee. A Negro business community, is what Washington had called Pensacola in 1907. To him it represented “ that healthy progressive communal spirit, so necessary to our people…” By 1910, the city had declined from their “black progress and success”. Yet, here he was making his first stop here five years later. March 1, 1912 he spoke at the Opera House in Pensacola.
His speech was heard by over two thousand people. There were eight hundred whites in attendance, the rest were black. In his speech he gave encouragement and moral advice. Saying: “We not only have the advantage in a state like Florida of securing land, but the further advantages of finding plenty of work,…” “There are few if any members of our race who have spent any considerable length of time in seeking labor, labor seeks them. Our condition is different from laboring people in many parts of the old world where they have to spend days and sometimes months in seeking labor and then are not able to find it. Washington left Pensacola for Tallahassee. He made a quick stop in Quincy to visit the Dunbar Graded School. When he arrived in Tallahassee he was greeted with a parade. This parade was led by the FAMC band. FAMC is now Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University. The band is now known as the Marching 100. Reading about my school in this book made me even more proud to be a rattler. The parade also consisted of black artisans, professional men, and farmers. Washington gave his speech on “Some of the Essential Things In Race Development”.
Afterwards he was invited to FAMC for a formal reception. Washington then gave another encouraging speech. He complemented FAMC, saying: “the State of Florida…has provided for the Negros in this state the best plant with the best equipment of any state in the Union. ” “I am glad to add that it is the best kept up plant, the cleanest, and the most systematically arranged of any that I have ever seen. ” Booker T. Washington visited Lake City, Ocala, Tampa, Lakeland, Eatonville, Palatka, Daytona Beach, and finished his tour in Jacksonville on March 7, 1912.