VIDEO: Booker T. Washington

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When Booker T. Washington stepped to the podium at the Atlanta Exposition in 1895 to give a speech on race relations, two things happened.

First, many fellow Black Americans, including W.E.B. Du Bois, derided his speech as “The Atlanta Compromise,” because Washington called the agitation for social equality “the extremest folly,” advocating instead slow, steady, and segregated self-improvement for the American Negro.

Second, Booker T. Washington’s was acclaimed by the white power structure, and his less threatening approach to progress proclaimed in the press.

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