Washington was the dominant figure in the African American community from 1890 to 1915, especially after he achieved prominence for his Atlanta compromise of 1895. White leaders in politics and philanthropy recognize him as the spokesperson for African American citizens. Representing the last generation of black leaders born into slavery, he was credible when speaking publicy and seeking educational improvements for those freedmen who had remained in New South in an uneasy second-class relationship with whites under the “Jim Crow” system of segregated schools and jobs. He built his leadership of the African American community nationwide through a network of core supporters including black educators, ministers, editors, and business men. He gained access to top national leaders in politics, philanthropy, and education and was rewarded honorary degrees, critics called his ...view middle of the document...
Apparently resolved to many undesirable social conditions in the short term, he also clearly had his eyes on a better future, for blacks. Through his own personal experience, Dr. Washington knew that a good education is the major and power tool for individuals to collectively accomplish that better future.
Washington’s philosophy and tireless work on education issues helped him enlist. Both the moral and sustained financial support of many philanthropists. He became friends with millionaires such as Standard Oil magnate Henry H. Rogers and Sears, Roe book and Company President Julius Rosen Wald. They funded his causes, especially in education. To upgrade the schools open to blacks, Washington socialized millions of dollar, often using matching funds that simulated local contributions. Washington’s system established and operated over 5,000 schools and supporting recauses throughout the South. This work was a major part of his legacy and was continued land expanded through the Rosewald fund and others for many years after Washington’s death in 1915.
Washington was the central figure in improving the overall friendship and working relationship between the races in the United States and headily off the “Herrenvolk” racism of lower class whites expressed through lynching and led by Ben Tillman. His powerful autobiography, up from slavery (1901) was widely read among blacks and sympathetic whites. It told the story of his own emancipation, education and successful career to inspire southern blacks, who had been denied opportunity for education and self, improvement. He carried the same theme forward in the story of the N.E.G.R.O. The rise of the race from slavery (1909). Washington in contrast to the civil-rights activist like DuBois and the NAACP, deemphasized politics in favor of the importance of cultivating middle class habits of skill, industry thrift and character so that blacks having preparing themselves educationally and culturally for responsible, would be accepted by liberal whites as meriting civil-rights