20100407 ? CA372 Washington?s Atlanta Exposition Address (September 18, 1895) Importance Makes BTW a national figure one of the most important speeches in American history occurred at a kind of regional World?s Fair?first of its kind in the area since the Civil War notable because it included participation by African Americans first occasion in the South that a black person was invited to speak at the same podium as white orators (governors and other dignitaries) response to the speech was almost completely enthusiastic, widely praised throughout the country some blacks were critical of BTW later, but applauded it at the time regarded by whites as the spokesman of his race aided by the fact that Fredrick Douglass died earlier in 1895 Representative of BTW?s ideas and rhetoric public speaking career ran across three decades, main themes stayed the same and this encapsulates them Continuing controversy over the speech continued to be debated it in the public press and African American community as well by 1905 his ideas were being challenged by those who thought he was too accommodating to white racism criticisms grew with time until later he was seen as a kind of Uncle Tom figure, a man who was willing to accept second class citizenship, ?separate but equal? Two keys to understanding the speech Read the speech in context of 1895 ? radical, political, economic, and linguistic Read the speech in its entirety often people only look at certain phrases careful expression of ideas for maximum acceptance of a practical program for racial integration AEA Structure and Content: text of speech: http://www.africawithin.com/bios/booker/atlanta_compromise.htm Introduction (1) ?one-third of the population of the South is of the Negro race? followed by ?No enterprise seeking the material, civil, or moral welfare of this section can disregard this element of our population and reach the highest success.? key premise?if the South wants to prosper it cannot do so by oppressing a third of the population ?value and manhood of the Negro? have been ?generously recognized? by the Exposition recognizing there was a Negro exhibit and speaker seems effusive now but it was no more than common courtesy of the day in response to the recognition Address to Blacks (2-6) ?opportunity here afforded will awaken among us a new era of industrial progress? exposition is the opportunity key to progress rested on economic advancement new era of industrial progress?new industry in the agrarian South a topic that was also attractive to white leaders of the South ?Cast down your bucket where you are.? famous allegory??look at the opportunities around you? alludes to the parable of Jesus inspiring faith in his apostles while fishing ?To those of my race who depend on bettering their condition in a foreign land or who underestimate the importance of cultivating friendly relations with the Southern white man, who is their next-door neighbor, I would say: ?Cast down your bucket where you are?? cast it down in making friends in every manly way of the people of all races by whom we are surrounded.? He?s telling blacks to stay in the South and not go to the North (time of the Great Migration) or to Africa ?in the South ? the Negro is given a man's chance in the commercial world? reason given for blacks to stay in the South, opportunity ?Cast it down in agriculture, mechanics, in commerce, in domestic service, and in the professions. And in this connection it is well to bear in mind that whatever other sins the South may be called to bear, when it comes to business, pure and simple, it is in the South that the Negro is given a man's chance in the commercial world,? ?masses of us are to live by the productions of our hands? ?Our greatest danger is that in the great leap from slavery to freedom we may overlook the fact that the masses of us are to live by the productions of our hands,? an advocate of industrial education he believed in higher education as well believed the majority of blacks would need practical vocational skills ?put brains and skill into the common occupations of life? ?No race can prosper till it learns that there is as much dignity in tilling a field as in writing a poem? concerned that after a century of forced servitude blacks were backing off of the positions they knew best and were losing those jobs to new immigrants Address to Southern whites (7-12) ?cast down your bucket where you are? not a call to prevent migration?but to look to blacks for opportunity ?Cast it down among the eight millions of Negroes whose habits you know, whose fidelity and love you have tested in days when to have proved treacherous meant the ruin of your firesides.? ?we shall stand by you with a devotion that no foreigner can approach? playing on the myth of slave devotion to his master trying to create an emotional bond between Southern whites and blacks based on perception of long-standing loyalty of Southern blacks to whites hoping a bond will lead to whites creating economic opportunity for blacks ?In all things that are purely social we can be as separate as the fingers,? has become controversial over the years Plessy v Ferguson passed the next year??separate but equal? BTW is sometimes blamed for the separate but equal policy because of this statement he?s not advocating that, or a second-class citizen ?yet one as the hand in all things essential to mutual progress.? in context: ?purely social? ? referring to social relations, who you socialize with, who your friends are in a coded way it addresses the fear of racial mixing, one thing the white South feared more than anything else ?one as the hand? advocating equality in industry and public life ?interlacing our industrial, commercial, civil, and religious life with yours in a way that shall make the interests of both races one? ?Effort or means so invested will pay a thousand per cent interest? if the white South wants to advance they will have to support the advancement of the Southern blacks ?The laws of changeless justice bind oppressor with oppressed; ? ?And close as sin and suffering joined We march to fate abreast..? inextricably bound ?Nearly sixteen millions of hands will aid you in pulling the load upward, or they will pull against you the load downward.? not a threat, not a black effort to subvert the South, simply a fact if you suppress blacks you will drag down the entire region seen as offering a bargain, ?allow my race to advance and the region as a whole will advance? called the Atlanta Compromise speech
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