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The Racial Politics of Booker T. Washington

The Racial Politics of Booker T. Washington by Donald Cunnigen
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Scholars have sought, over many decades, to understand the mystique surrounding Booker T. Washington. He is an enigma and continues to be lauded by those who offer him and his ideas as a model for Black Progress. He was both simple and complex; a passive observer on some issues and an active participant in others; non-assuming, yet egoistic, and a very public man who talked freely with others, yet, a private man who kept certain social tactics and strategies close to his chest. He sought to both make sense of his world, then to manipulate that world in order to obtain from it those things he most wanted and needed. This volume provides the reader with a wide inter-disciplinary landscape with which to assess Washington. We continue to study and research the life and works of Washington because, though we’ve moved beyond Washington and the ideology of race and racial politics of his times on certain levels, yet in reality, this generation is confronted with all the contradictions and ambiguities around race, and class, which Washington encountered and for which he sought solutions. For example, as black Americans continue to be mired in the deficits of educational opportunity and development, employment opportunities and occupational advancements, and health and medical problems, we are reminded of Washington’s arguments for greater individual and group black self-sufficiency and self-reliance, as well as the need for practical educational objectives which Washington advocated under aegis of vocational education. As we move into the new century, the economic and educational goals and programs highlighted by Washington remain forgotten and unfulfilled. Hopefully, the articles in this volume will force a re-thinking of Washington’s economic and educational objectives and strategies. This may prompt the emergence of new thinkers and builders who will create the educational and economic bases, similar to the ones created by Washington.
Emerald Group Publishing Limited; September 2006
251 pages; ISBN 9780080476193
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Title: The Racial Politics of Booker T. Washington
Author: Donald Cunnigen; Myrtle Gonza Glascoe; Rutledge M. Dennis