30 October 2014
The Cotton States and International Exposition was held in Atlanta, Georgia beginning in September of 1895. Booker T. Washington was invited to give the opening address. The subject for this address was racial cooperation and has come to be known as the Atlanta Compromise Address. Booker T. Washington was born into slavery and with hard work and determination became a nationally known scholar and orator, as well as an influential leader of the black community. At the time of the speech, lynching and overt violent acts of racism were rampant in the South. Mr. Washington’s position regarding economic cooperation between races as well as a call for long-term efforts for education and the economic advancement of the black communities was considered controversial. Mr. Washington used this platform to raise awareness of many issues and, by any standard, helped to improve the life of black Americans in the South.
In 1895 there was discrimination everywhere. In America people of African descent had a miserable existence. Less than 40 years earlier, they were either “owned” property, known as slaves, or lived a very humble, poverty stricken life. Booker T. Washington was among a number of very few blacks that were articulate, well educated, and well informed. He was aware that his life stood as an example to both blacks and whites that his race was capable of much more. His purpose was to bring the United States together and show how everyone could benefit. In this speech, Booker T. Washington uses many rhetorical devices to promote changes in the combined community of the nation. In his opening statements he was clear that the audience as a participating element in society should recognize the “American Negro”.
Throughout this speech Mr. Washington praised the purpose of the meeting. He wished to make these white leaders more receptive to the concept of mutual cooperation. This would result in an economic advantage...
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