Ida B. Wells: “Booker T. Washington and His Critics”

(1904)

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Industrial education for the Negro is Booker T. Washington’s hobby. He believes that for the masses of the Negro race an elementary education of the brain and a continuation of the education of the hand is not only the best kind, but he knows it is the most popular with the white South. He knows also that the Negro is the butt of ridicule with the average white American, and that the aforesaid American enjoys nothing so much as a joke which portrays the Negro as illiterate and improvident; a petty thief or a happy-go-lucky inferior.…

[Booker T. Washington] knows, as do all students of sociology, that the representatives which stand as the type for any race, are chosen not from the worst but from the best specimens of that race; the achievements of the few rather than the poverty, vice and ignorance of the many, are the standards of any given race’s ability. There is a Negro faculty at Tuskegee, some of whom came from the masses, yet have crossed lances with the best...

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Ida B. Wells (Library of Congress)

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