Saturday, November 14, 2015

Booker T Washington 100 Years -- November 14, 2015

Washington Evening Star, 15-November-1915
Educator Booker T Washington was very influential in the African American community and in the wider culture in the early 20th Century.  When I was growing up, his reputation had diminished, but I believe that he did a lot of good things for America.  

Dr. Booker T. Washington Founder of Institute for Colored Race, Succumbs.
Man Who Was Born in Slavery Achieves Fame as Leader of Thought and Endeavor. 

TUSKEGEE, Ala., November 15.  -- Funeral arrangements were being completed today for Booker T. Washington, the noted negro educator and founder of Tuskegee Institute, who died here, yesterday of a nervous breakdown. Services will be held at the institute Wednesday morning at 10 o'clock, followed by internment in the institute grounds. The body will lie in state all day tomorrow.

Thousands of Alabamians, in addition to prominent educators and others from various parts of the country, are expected to attend the funeral. A special train will be run from Montgomery to bring state officials and others.

Messages of condolence reached the Washington home here today from throughout the country. They came from leaders of thought and endeavor in all walks of life.

While it is officially announced that the question of a successor will not be considered until after the funeral, the names of Emmett J. Scott, confidential secretary to Dr. Washington ; Warren Logan, treasurer and Dr. Ainsworth. business manager of the institute, are being mentioned in this connection. Scott, who for eighteen years has been closely identified with Dr. Washington in his work, is said to be the most likely successor.

Fatal Illness Develops.

The negro leader had been in failing health for several months, but his condition became serious only last week, while he was in the east. He realized the end was near, but was determined to make the long trip south to bear out his oft-expressed statement that he had been "born in the south," had "lived all my life in the south and expect to die and be buried in the south."

Accompanied by his wife, his secretary and a physician, Washington left New York for Tuskegee at 4 o'clock Friday afternoon. He reached his home Saturday midnight and died at 4:40 o'clock yesterday morning.

Specialists who had examined Washington said he was suffering from nervous breakdown and hardening of the arteries. His last public appearance was at the National Conference of Congregational Churches, where he delivered a lecture October 25.

He is survived by his wife, three children and four grandchildren. His brother, John H. Washington, is superintendent of industries at Tuskegee Institute.

Was Born a Slave.

Booker T. Washington was born in slavery near Hales Ford, Va., in 1857 or 1858. After the emancipation of his race he moved with his family to West Virginia. He was an ambitious boy and saved his money for an education.  When he was able to scrape together sufficient funds to pay his stage coach fare to Hampton. Va.. he entered Gen. Armstrong's school for negroes there and worked his way through an academic course, graduating in 1875.  Later he became a teacher in the Hampton Institute, where he remained until 1881. when he organized an industrial school for negroes at Tuskegee.  He remained principal of this school up to the time of his death.

The institute started in a rented shanty church and today it owns 3,500 acres of land in Alabama and has nearly 100 buildings valued at half a million dollars.

Washington won the sympathy and support of leading southerners by a speech in behalf of his race at the cotton states exposition in Atlanta in 1895. Of undoubted ability and breadth of vision, his sane leadership enabled him to accomplish more for and among the negroes of the United States than any other negro of his time.

Gains Fame as Author.

In addition to his prominence as an educator, Washington gained considerable fame as an author. He received an honorary degree of master of arts from Harvard University in 1896 and was given an honorary degree of doctor of laws by Dartmouth College in 1901.

An incident of Washington's career made him a figure of national prominence during the administration of President Roosevelt. He sat down to lunch with the President at the White House, either by formal or informal Invitation. There was a storm of protest, particularly from the south, but in spite of the resulting hostility shown toward him by many white persons, Dr. Washington continued to exert a widespread influence toward the betterment of his people.

Col. Roosevelt's Tribute.

OYSTER BAY. N. Y.. November 15 Col. Theodore Roosevelt made the following statement on the death of Booker T. Washington:

"I am deeply shocked and grieved at the death of Dr. Booker T. Washington.  He was one of the distinguished citizens of the United States, a man who rendered greater service to his own race than had ever been rendered by any one else and who, in so doing also rendered great service to the whole country. I mourn his loss and feel that one of the most useful citizens of our land has gone."

Suggestion to Negro Business Man

MOUND BAYOU, Miss., November l5 -- Charles Banks, vice president of the National Negro Business League, of which Booker T. Washington was president. has sent telegrams to member of the league urging that all business enterprises conducted by negroes in the United States be closed for an
hour Wednesday as a mark of respect to Dr. Washington.

Memorial Services at Charleston.

CHARLESTON. W. Va.. November 15 -- Memorial services for the late Booker T. Washington will be held Wednesday morning at the hour set for the funeral at Tuskegee. Leading negro citizens from all parts of the state, where Dr. Washington resided after being freed from slavery, are expected to be present.

True Story Told at Last of Booker Washington's Luncheon at White House

The death of Booker T. Washington, the noted colored educator and founder of Tuskegee Institute, at Tuskegee, Ala., yesterday recalls the nation-wide comment that followed Washington luncheon with President Roosevelt In the White House in the summer of 1902. Many stories of how the colored educator came to be the President's guest at luncheon have been printed, and most of them, it is asserted, have been largely guesswork.

The true version of the affair was related today by a lifelong friend of Washington, who lives here.

The account of the incident given by this relator follows:

"While Vice President, Col. Roosevelt had become interested in the colored man and the great work he was conducting among the negroes of the south. Early in the summer of 1902 a vacancy occurred on the federal bench in Alabama.  One morning Booker T. Washington arrived in the National Capital and immediately called on a friend here, a white man, with whom he had been in the habit of taking council, and remarked that he a had. received an invitation to come to Washington immediately for a conference with President Roosevelt. He added that he had no idea of what was wanted of him, but he felt that the invitation was in the nature of a command, and that he should come.

Asked to Recommend Judge.

"That night about 10 o'clock he returned to the office of this friend and related the following story: The President had explained to him that there was a vacancy on the federal bench in Alabama and that he (the President) wanted Washington to recommend a man for the place. The President explained that if Washington would make a recommendation the President would look no further. 1 "Washington then remarked that he knew of a man who would make a good judge and would certainly be acceptable to the colored people of the state.

The man he mentioned was Thomas G. Jones, who had been Governor of Alabama and who resided at Montgomery,

"The President then said to Washington in substance: 'I will offer this place to Jones provided you will act as my messenger. I want you to go to him and say to him that you are authorized to offer the place to him and to say to him that if he is appointed, it will be solely on your recommendation.

"Washington undertook the mission. He left the National Capital that night for Alabama, and three days later returned here early one morning.

"About luncheon-time he went to the White House to report that former Gov. Jones had accepted.

"He found the President at luncheon, however, the White House attendants (the executive offices were then in the White House proper) informed the President that Mr. Washington was here. Mr. Roosevelt immediately asked the colored man to come into he dining room. According to the story, as told by Washington to his friend here, the President was lunching alone.

President Roosevelt Insisted.

"'Sit down and have lunch with me,' said the President.

"'No thank you: I have been to luncheon,' was the response the colored man made.

"The President, however, insisted that Mr. Washington should take a seat at the table and have a bite with him. while the message from Mr. Jones was being delivered. Reluctantly, as Mr. Washington afterward said, he did sit down, and participated in the luncheon while he made his report.

"This version of the luncheon story disposes of the popular impression that President Roosevelt in a formal way invited the colored educator to luncheon at the White House. After the country began to discuss the luncheon some of the friends of Mr. Washington advised him to make public the true story of the affair, but he never did, and Mr. Roosevelt also left the public free to draw its own conclusions."

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