I'm reading Up From History, a really cool bio of Booker T. Washington by Robert J. Norrell. I have an old relationship with Booker T, as my Dad worshiped him. Seriously in our house the trinity was Malcolm, Booker T. and Garvey. Anyway, Booker T. has often been accused of being a sell-out. I think, after reading this book, people need to rethink what a sell-out is. Here's William Hooper Councill, president of Alabama A&M, in 1886, talking about lynching:
Were it not for the white ladies of this country, hell would have broken loose long ago. God Bless the white woman! I know she wants me hung when I assault or insult her and she is right! I tell you Negro men you had better let that white lady alone for she is the goddess of all virtue and purity.
Wow. Talk about a cooning. They don't make em like they use to, folks. Councill wasn't Booker T's ally, he was his sworn enemy. I think Washington deserves his share of criticism. But Norrell does a great job of contextualizing the man. Here is a dude running a school in South, during an era when whites were explicitly targeting schools and churches for destruction. It couldn't have been an easy row.
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