The Souls of Black Folk

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In the age of Booker T. Washington’s “Atlanta Compromise” program, Americans viewed formal education as a road to equality amongst social groups, and many of the immigrants and their descendants eagerly embraced schooling as a means of upward mobility. Even though this theory was the farthest thing away from the truth, these schools were separated and grouped children according to their culture, religion, and class as well as skin color. These schools were established by reformers and missionaries who mostly focused on the teaching of practical trades to students. Such schools as the Carlisle Indian School, where boys learned to make harnesses, tin pots and pans, wagons, and carriages, among other products, many of which were sold to local residents to raise money for the school. Girls also had a role in this industrialized school, they took in laundry and ironed, also part of the school’s effort to raise money. This type of curriculum main goal was to enable the pupils to become more self-sufficient upon graduation.

All over the country North and South people grew more concerned about the education of blacks particularly in the south. After the Civil War had taken place, the south was very extremely poor and many blacks lived in rural areas. Philanthropist residing from the north sought after education of these young people, such as Julius Rosenwald Chicago, upheld the notion of segregated public schools.

Born into slavery in 1858, Booker T. Washington had worked in West Virginia Coal mines before attending Hampton Normal School and Agricultural Institute in Virginia. In 1881 he assumed the leadership of Tuskegee Institute, an Alabama school for blacks founded on the Hampton model. Washington spoke at many rally’s and conventions one of his most significant appearance was at the Cotton States Exposition, a fair held in Atlanta in 1895, where he urged southern black to “Cast down your buckets where you are –in other words to remain in the south and to...
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