​September 18, 1895: Booker T. Washington Delivers The “Atlanta Compromise” Speech

0 Posted by - September 18, 2017 - BLACK ART & LITERATURE, BLACK MEN, BLACK POLITICS, Injustices, LATEST POSTS, Looking Black On Today, Missing From Textbooks, POLITICS, Racism, SLAVERY

Washington spoke before a predominantly white audience at the Cotton States and International Exposition in Atlanta. His “Atlanta Compromise” address, as it came to be called, was one of the most important and influential speeches in American history. 

Although the organizers of the exposition worried that “public sentiment was not prepared for such an advanced step,” they decided that inviting a black speaker would impress Northern visitors with the evidence of racial progress in the South. Washington soothed his listeners’ concerns about “uppity” blacks by claiming that his race would content itself with living “by the productions of our hands.”

The Atlanta compromise was an agreement struck in 1895 between African-American leaders and Southern white leaders. The agreement was that Southern blacks would work weekly and submit to white political rule, while Southern whites guaranteed that blacks would receive basic education and due process in law; blacks would not agitate for equality, integration, or justice, and Northern whites would fund black educational charities.

The compromise was announced at the Atlanta Exposition Speech. The primary architect of the compromise, on behalf of the African-Americans, was Booker T. Washington, president of the Tuskegee Institute. Supporters of Washington and the Atlanta compromise were termed the “Tuskegee Machine”.

The agreement was never written down. Essential elements of the agreement were that blacks would not ask for the right to vote, they would not retalliate against racist behavior, they would tolerate segregation and discrimination, that they would receive free basic education, education would be limited to vocational or industrial training (for instance as teachers or nurses), liberal arts education would be prohibited (for instance, college education in the classics, humanities, art, or literature).

Read the entire speech and the aftermath of the speech at: https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=637238193113930&substory_index=0&id=101575520013536

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