Booker T. Washington – Up From Slavery

I haven’t read the book, but now I’m interested.  Maybe I’ll get it for my daughter so she can bring it into her history classes.

One thing I want to call to your attention is that the later printings of the book contain an “explanation” in the forward by a Marxist professor, telling us not to take it seriously.  What was that Michelle Obama said about the left’s need to change our history and our traditions?


7 thoughts on “Booker T. Washington – Up From Slavery

  1. Any idea where I could find the text of that forward, seems to me that some fisking may be in order.

  2. Beck brought it up in the video. If he said it, holding up a copy of the book in front of the camera, there is at least 99.999% chance that it is true. I added the “Marxist” bit, simply because I know the left and from where it gets its ideology and faith. But if you feel the need, then fisk away. Don’t take Glenn Beck’s (and his army of paid fiskers) word for it. He’d tell you that himself. I’ll be getting a copy for myself, so I can see who did what in the forward. You should do the same. No doubt there is more than one version.

  3. I’m not in a position to watch the video right now, but I recently read Up from Slavery.

    My impression is that the book had two audiences, northern and southern whites. Washington wanted to raise money from northern whites and placate southern whites. Throughout the book, he never has a bad word to say about any person except unnamed blacks. He wants to be a friend and fan of every person.

    Washington’s strategy of building up black society through the skilled trades and moral cultivation was probably the right approach. It’s a pity that it incurred such hostility from other corners.

    But the rejection of Washington was understandable. In the book, Washington has a single-minded focus on the future. He wants a better future for blacks and is willing to whitewash brutality and injustice against his people in the past and the present in order to accomplish that goal.

  4. Would that we all had closer to a single minded focus on the future.

    What is the difference, exactly, between being “willing to whitewash” sins in the past on one hand, and dwelling on (being stuck in and defined by) sins in the past?

    I’m as much Irish as Obama is black. Some pretty horrible things were done to Irish immigrants in the U.S. However, those horrible things weren’t done to me, and the people who did them are dead. What would be the point in my dwelling on it? Whipping up ethnic division for sadistic political gain. Nothing else. Should I define myself by other people’s past sins, and by ethnic division, or should I live a better life because I can?

    We don’t have to “whitewash” which is to say, “make it appear less evil than it was” in order to get past slavery. What we have to do to get past slavery is get past slavery. I’m not a victim, you’re not a victim, I’m not a perpetrator, you’re not a perpetrator, and so neither of us has a claim on the other. Move on. Acknowledge the evils of the past, learn from them so they’re less apt to be repeated, recognize the various forms slavery can take even now, but never whitewash it.

    What we owe one another is a respect for each other’s rights and responsibilities in a free society. We owe each other liberty. Starting now.

    “Emancipate yourself from mental slavery. None but ourselves can free our minds.” — Bob Marley

    I’ll take Booker T. over Al Sharpton, Rev. Wright and Obama any day, thank you. All the latter want is a hopeless, angry, dependent class they can use to help further their power. What I want, and what Booker wanted, is for ALL people to have the wherewithal, the hope, the freedom and some peace so they can uplift themselves. It’s a choice between divide and conquer or unify and free.

  5. Keep in mind that Washington was born a slave and lived in the 19th Century South. American slavery is in the distant past for us, but was not for him or his contemporaries.

    He claimed to have encountered nothing but gentlemanly conduct and courtesy throughout his travels in the South. He deviates from this unflinching praise of the South only once when he mentions lynching in Louisiana. That’s it. Otherwise, he has nothing but good things to say about the way Southerners treat blacks.

    It would be reasonable for a black person at the time to find Washington’s descriptions preposterous. They advanced the cause, but at no small cost. I would not hold it against any black person of that era to balk at that cost.

    Otherwise, I agree with your general sentiment. All of the slaves and slaveholders are now dead, and it does not help any descendants of slaves to live as though the Thirteenth Amendment was passed last week.

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