AMERICAN SOCIOLOGISTS COOPERATION WITH BOOKER T. WASHINGTON:  LIBERAL RACISM

 

 

 

Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.

 

 

Can an entire discipline be wrong? Can almost everyone in a discipline be basically living a lie, only to exposed at some later date by one person brave enough to challenge the accepted paradigm of the times? The answer clearly is yes. And we will illustrate this by showing the support of sociologists for the thought of Booker T. Washington. This is an important history to know because currently American sociologists are supporting a new form of racial separatism that has many similarities with the philosophy and times of Booker T. Washington. This is true despite the sociologists unwillingness to admit the similarity.

A note of caution has to be expressed about the history of Booker T. Washington. Liberals are always rewriting history to make it more progressive in keeping with recent changes in the expression of the liberal paradigm. For instance, in many of the histories and perspectives on Washington, authors constantly mix up the critical remarks of a later time with the supportive statements made at the time of Washington's rise to power. What we want to focus on is the period of clear support for Washington, when he had the overwhelming support of the liberal community. There were many critics, both black and white, of Washington. The majority of these criticisms, however, did not have much effect during the ascendancy of Washington, but only later. One has to clearly separate the later critical positions of liberals from their earlier praise for or at least tacit support of Washington. If we look closely just at Washington's life during his period of clear support, we see that most liberals, both black and white, supported him.

BOOKER T. WASHINGTON

Booker T. Washington was born into slavery in Virginia in 1856. He later worked in the salt mines near Charleston, West Virginia. In the fall of 1878 at the age of twenty-two, he attended Wayland Seminary in Washington, D.C. Washington never liked big cities and he did not seem to enjoy his time at the seminary where the students were much too urban and sophisticated to suit his more simple rural tastes. As a painter, he worked his way through Hampton Institute in Virginia, where General Samuel Chapman Armstrong, the white principal, first set forth a program of agricultural and industrial training that would make the education of blacks palatable to the dominant elements in the New South. It was Armstrong who taught Washington the doctrine of economic advancement and conciliation of whites. In the vein of the popular philosopher Mark Hopkins and the philosophy at Williams College, which Armstrong attended, character-building was ascendant over scholarship. Armstrong (quoted in Anderson 1988:58) believed the chief problem of the Negro was "not mere ignorance, but deficiency of character. . ."

Washington became a teacher at Hampton and stayed there until 1881, when he was chosen to head a new school that came to be known as the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama. The school became a pioneer example of an independent industrial school.

In 1895 Washington was catapulted into national prominence as a black spokesman by the effects of a single speech, delivered in Atlanta before the Cotton States and International Exposition. Washington (Hawkins 1974:viii) told whites that their economic futures could only be assured by a lessening of their hostility to blacks. And he told blacks that the most important goal was economic respectability. He asserted the two groups moving toward each other in their outlooks would make it more likely for blacks to obtain equal protection under the law.

This made Washington in the eyes of white America the "official" leader of the black race. Washington (Harlan 1972:232) was supported by governmental, industrial, and educational leaders throughout the nation. President Daniel Coit Gilman of John Hopkins University asked Washington to be one of the judges of the exposition's educational exhibits. A flood of invitations to speak followed Washington's Atlanta Address. The white people chose Washington as the black leader they believed in, and eagerly wanted to see and touch him. He was the predictable black speaker before such organizations as the Hamilton Club, the Union League Club, the Chautauqua Assembly, the YMCA, and the black and white churches.

Washington became the darling of the philanthropic leaders. Men such as Andrew Carnegie and Henry H. Rogers of Standard Oil supported the Tuskegee Institute. Carnegie bestowed upon Washington so much money that he was guaranteed economic support for life. (Thornbrough 1969:8) Washington received monies and support from the Rockefeller-endowed General Education Board, the Rosenwald Fund, the Anna T. Jeanes Fund, and the Phelps-Stokes Fund. Washington was on friendly terms with William H. Baldwin, Jr, vice-president of the Southern Railway, merchants John W. Wanamaker and Robert C. Ogden, Collis P. Huntington, the railroad magnate, and Julius Rosenwald of Sears, Roebuck and Company. He was well acquainted with editors and publishers, such as Walter Hines Page and Lyman Abbott. Even writers got into the supporting act. William Dean Howells thought Washington an "exemplary citizen" who had the only realistic method of dealing with the vexing race problem (Thornbrough 1969:18).

Democratic President Grover Cleveland (Harlan 1975:224) wrote a letter to Washington thanking him for what he had done. He wrote that Washington had provided the basis for "new hope" for blacks. Cleveland became a lifelong friend of Washington's. The progressive president Theodore Roosevelt (Thornbrough 1969:17) said that Washington was "a genius such as does not arise in a generation." As chief patronage referee in the South for federal appointments under Roosevelt and Taft, virtually every decision to appoint a black was not done until Washington was conferred with and his approval secured. Indeed, the period from 1895 to 1915 has been called the Age of Booker T. Washington (Hawkins 1974:ix).

Washington was a man supported by the liberals, not the conservatives. The vast majority of white southerners felt very uneasy about Washington. This was demonstrated by the furor caused when President Roosevelt entertained Washington at a family dinner at the White House (Thornbrough 1969:7). Liberal support is also seen in the fact that the majority of blacks endorsed Washington. These included T. Thomas Fortune, Francis J. Grimke, J. W. E. Bowen and other blacks prominent in the drive for civil rights and higher education. Even Du Bois kept on friendly terms with Washington, although this would eventually change. In fact, Du Bois remained an ally of Washington until 1903. T. Thomas Fortune, a predecessor of the people who established the NAACP and a man regarded as the best black journalist in the nation, was one of Washington's closest confidants. (Thornbrough 1969:19) Washington was a member of the boards of trustees of Howard and Fisk Universities (Meier 1966: 114). Compared to the reaction of white liberals, the black reaction was less positive and many thought he was too conciliatory, but Washington (Harlan 1975:225) once wrote that even the skeptics "seemed to have been won over to my way of believing and acting". Even though there was no unanimity in reaction to the speech, Harlan says a surprising number of prominent blacks hastened to congratulate Washington. (One of his most outspoken opponents was the black radical separatist Bishop Henry M. Turner who supported black emigration to Liberia.)

In 1896 the Supreme Court's Plessy v. Ferguson decision gave judicial sanction to the "separate but equal" doctrine that Washington had already endorsed in his "separate as the fingers" reference in his speeches. The Plessy decision involved only transportation, but the courts soon extended the formula to schools and public accommodations.

Washington (McPherson 1994:361 & 359) built a coalition of blacks, northern liberals, southern moderates and wealthy philanthropists. Most neo-abolitionists endorsed Washington's work, even though they were somewhat skeptical of his emphasis on industrial training and thought he was too obsequious of southern whites. As August Meier (1966:97&99) has pointed out in his book Negro Thought in America, 1880-1915: Racial Ideologies in the Age of Booker T. Washington, there was nothing original in the thought of Booker T. Washington. Rather he simply put all the ingredients together in a nice sounding way that appealed to all the various regions, social classes, and racial groupings in America at the turn of the century. And because he did provide an approach that was so nebulous that it could be interpreted favorably by any group, it was acceptable to all the various groupings in the United States. Many southern and northern whites liked his ideas because it assumed an inferior position for blacks. It appealed to white liberals because they thought it would advance the condition of the blacks in the South. In fact, Washington's approach fit the spirit of the age.

But Washington was not just the "official" leader in the eyes of the whites, but also in the eyes of most blacks. "For the next twenty years, until his death in 1915, no other Negro commanded a comparable influence among men of both races (Broderick and Meier 1965:8)." As the seal of their approbation, white Alabamians enshrined Washington as the only black face in their state's hall of fame (Hamilton 1977:83).

Washington did work for reforms for the blacks and improvements for the race. But he always did this within the system of "separate but equal." He simply tried to expand the notion of equal, pleading and appealing to whites for more equal treatment, trading better treatment for black cooperation with whites. (According to Harlan (1972:171), Washington actually lived a very duplicitous life for while appeasing the whites, he would do as much as he could get away with for his fellow blacks.)

Today we realize that the philosophy and approach of Booker T. Washington was an accommodation to the evils of segregation. Washington did the best he could for his race within the Southern apartheid system. While we may excuse Washington a bit for this, what are the excuses of the liberal whites who supported Washington? Like the men who advised the presidents to get involved in the Vietnam War, Washington's supporters were among the best and the brightest. And yet they were oh, so wrong.

List of Friends and Supporters of Booker T. Washington

Reading the letters to and from Booker T. Washington papers in the fifteen volume series of his collected papers is a fascinating exercise, because of the appearance of so many leaders of the liberal/progressive community, as well as others. These volumes certainly demonstrate how influential Washington was and how widespread was his support. A list of just a few of the friends and supporters of Booker T. Washington are listed in the appendix.

Given the great power and influence of Booker T. Washington, he had to have the support of almost every major white and black group in American society. But we want to focus specifically on the support of sociologists for Booker T. Washington. Like the other liberals of this time, sociologists were not really innovative or original in their positions on racism. They took the typical liberal positions of the times, but, as always, a little to the left of mainstream liberalism. And the times were steeped in racism. Recreating the atmosphere of the turn of the century when Booker T. Washington became famous, one has to emphasize the racism of liberalism. "Both scientists and social scientists warned of the deleterious effects of racial mixing" (Thornbrough 1969:2). At the turn of the century even the neo-abolitionists were ready to acquiesce in disfranchisement of the black.

EARLY SOCIOLOGISTS' LACK OF CONCERN FOR RACE AND RACISM

It is amazing how little attention the early sociologists paid to race. The autobiographies of all the very early sociologists either do not mention race and racism or have only a few passing references. Most of them were concerned with the problem of class, but not with the problem of race. It is interesting that sociologists can write about capitalism and ignore racism. It is amazing unless we realize that liberals do not want to admit the full role of racism in the United States. Another indication of liberal rewriting of history is the realization of just how bad writings on sociologists are. Booker T. Washington was the major figure in race relations during this period and yet hardly any of the biographers of the sociologists mention him. Ironically, it would actually be a follower of Booker T. Washington who brought concern with the problem of race to sociology: Robert E. Park.

Lester Frank Ward (1841-1913)

An example of liberal rewriting of history is the tendency of today's sociological writers to find embarrassing statements on the topic of race by early sociologists. For instance, Lester Frank Ward justified "the Southern practice of first emasculating and then immolating black men accused of taking an untoward interest in white women as part of what he called the natural ‘philosophy of rape.'" (Googin 1993:7-8) Ward believed that black men raped white women because of the "biological imperative" of improving their offspring. Conversely, black women submitted to white men for the same reason. (Thornbrough 1969:2) But these quotations are often taken out of context by latter sociological generations anxious to prove falsely that the sociological liberals of a past day were really conservatives. The trouble is that they are what sociologists always are some version of: liberal racists.

Ward actually fought against the even more racist attitudes of his fellow sociologists. Commager (1967:xvii) writes that the teachings of sociologists commonly supported the principle of Nordic supremacy. Their statistics, after all, showed how blacks and immigrant groups contributed more than a proportionate share to crime and disease.

Ward served in the Civil War and attended the political rallies of abolitionist Frederick Douglass. He wrote an article on the races in 1868 where he said if blacks had the same opportunities as whites they would be as civilized (Scott 1976:121). Ward started out as a government clerk concerned with immigration statistics and the census.

In 1884 he published Dynamic Sociology. Little attention was given to race in this book (Scott 1976:122), but then again this was also true of the concept of social class. As a typical American liberal sociologist, he was neither conservative nor radical. Chicago sociologist Albion Small wrote that "All things considered, I would rather have written Dynamic Sociology than any other book ever published in America." (Commager 1967:xxvii) Around the turn of the century Ward came out with several more books on sociology. He was the first sociologist, says Commager (1967:xxxvii), to challenge the doctrine of laissez-faire in America and, thereby, contributed greatly to the undermining of Social "Darwinism." Therefore, he was a typical good liberal of his time. He did, however, speak and write in terms of biology and evolution, but that was the accepted framework of the period.

Ward (Commager 1967:333) thought that racism was nonproductive and would eventually wither away as assimilation proceeded. He even wrote that "intermarriage among the members of the two races would become more frequent until nearly or quite all the members of society have the blood of both races in their veins." Today, Ward's words seem incredibly optimistic.

Thornstein Veblen

Thorstein Veblen was at the University of Chicago for fourteen years. Among his colleagues were W. I. Thomas, George Herbert Mead, John Dewey, Jacques Loeb, and Franz Boas. He became famous with his The Theory of the Leisure Class in 1899.

It is interesting that one of the outstanding critics of American capitalism and materialism hardly mentioned race in his works. Tilman (1996:57) says that Veblen was a racialist. He believed that different psychological traits and temperaments characterized the different racial and ethnic groups and this was mostly hereditary, but that he did not think that one group had a monopoly on the best traits and temperaments. But that's about it from Veblen on the topic of race.

Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1860-1935)

The leading feminist sociologist of Park's time was Charlotte Perkins Gilman. She was a self-proclaimed disciple of Lester F. Ward. In 1898 she published Women and Economics: A Study of the Economic Relation Between Men and Women as a Factor in Social Evolution and in 1911 The Man-Made World or Our Androcentric Culture. She maintained a lifelong aversion to both blacks and Jews and she proposed in an article in the American Journal of Sociology in 1908 that black labor would eventually come under the control of a white master class. (Googin 1993:8)

While she was a feminist, Larry Ceplair (1991:7 & 272) mentions that she never addressed issues pertinent to the situation of black women. This was partly due to the general indifference of whites to black problems, but also because Gilman was a racist, sometimes latent, sometimes manifest. At the turn of the century, she criticized those who said the massive amount of immigration was leading to "race suicide." But in her autobiography she had a change of mind and admitted that living in New York City in the 1920s had convinced her that the various minority ethnic groups were inferior. She also regarded these ethnic groups as a threat to human progress.

Edward A. Ross (1866-1951)

Edward Allsworth Ross, a student of the economist Richard Ely of Johns Hopkins University, read Wards' Dynamic Sociology and sought him out. He became a friend of the Ward family and married the niece of Ward's wife and thus became Ward's nephew (Scott 1976:32). Ross taught at the University of Wisconsin after a short stint at the University of Nebraska.

Ross called Gilman "the most brilliant woman I have known" (Ceplair 1991:2 and Gossett, 1963). Ceplair (1991:2) says that Gilman was not as conscious or virulent a racist as was Ross, who was strident and blatant in his racism. But Ross was "an important figure in American reform (Weinberg 1972:152-156)." He did believe that Anglo-Saxons were superior to other ethnic/racial groups and that this superior group was committing racial suicide by allowing massive immigration, but Ross, being a progressive, was of mixed feeling and followed his proclivity for reflecting current popular moods. Therefore, he wrote that group differences were based on both racial and sociological factors.

SOCIOLOGICAL CONCERN WITH RACE: LIBERAL RACISM

Robert E. Park

Robert E. Park was the father of the study of race relations in sociology. He set the tone and still sets the tone in sociology today. As James B. McKee (1993) has shown, the sociology of race relations has failed in America and it has failed precisely because liberalism itself has failed in America. Unfortunately, sociology is primarily a reflection of American liberalism. McKee shows that the perspective on race in America has not changed much in the seventy years since Park's work. And the problem with Park was that he was a typical liberal of his time just as the sociologists of today are typical liberals of their times. Park was a separatist of his time and today's multicultural sociologists are separatists of their time.

Park (Smith 1988: Chapter 6) was born in 1864 in Pennsylvania. The family moved to Minnesota when the father came home from service in the Union Army. The father died in 1911 leaving the son a substantial legacy. Park studied philosophy and German at the University of Michigan after which he spent twelve years as a newspaperman. He went back to academic training and studied philosophy, psychology, and sociology. He wrote his dissertation on "the crowd and the public." He turned down an offer from Albion Small to teach sociology part-time at Chicago, instead deciding to work free-lance as a researcher, publicity officer, and ghost writer. He was employed initially by the Congo Reform Association.

The atrocities committed under King Leopold's rule in the Belgian Congo deeply bothered Park. He became the first secretary of the Congo Reform Association and, while in the United States campaigning to arouse public opinion on the subject, met Booker T. Washington. He (Smith 1988:312-313) wrote that he and Booker T. Washington had similar ideas on the causes of racism in the United States. He stayed and worked with Booker T. for seven years. He writes that "These seven years were for me a sort of prolonged internship during which I gained a clinical and first hand knowledge of a first class social problem". He said it was from Washington that "I first gained some adequate notion of how deep-rooted in human history and human nature social institutions were, and how difficult, if not impossible it was, to make fundamental changes in them by mere legislation or by legal artifice of any sort".

Park was Washington's private secretary, research analyst, and ghost writer. He even accompanied Washington on his many railway tours. These tours between 1906 and 1912 went through parts of many southern states. (Raushenbush 1979:47) With Washington, he even toured Europe. Park, uncredited, coauthored a two volume history of America's blacks (1909). Meanwhile, Park did a number of sociological studies under his own name, publishing a study of the black settlement at Winston-Salem, North Carolina. (Lyman 1992:xvii)

Park was so pro-Washington and anti-Du Bois that he made the misleading statement in one of his diaries that Du Bois, then a professor of sociology at Atlanta, had hid in a country farmhouse during a riot that broke out in Atlanta in 1906, while Washington went immediately to the scene to calm the rioting. (Raushenbush 1979:47)

In 1912 Park met W. I. Thomas who persuaded him that he should come and teach at the University of Chicago. By this time Washington has already begun his decline. Park in a letter to Washington (December 3, 1912: Booker T. Washington Papers;Volume 12:83) noted the importance of getting legitimization from the University of Chicago for work done at Tuskegee. He wrote that he did not get an important job because a Mr. Stokes of the Stokes Fund felt that Park "did not seem to him to represent science. Perhaps also, there was a distrust of the ability of any one connected with a Negro school to do scientific work. This suggests the advisability of my making some connection with Chicago University. Mr. Thomas (that is, W. I. Thomas) has proposed it. Then, when I wanted to do sociological work from Tuskegee, I would have a title and the backing of the university." So much for objective social science.

Washington in a letter to his personal secretary Emmett Jay Scott (Oct. 23, 1913; Volume 12:320) wrote that "We can get a strong and striking news item for the colored papers out of the fact that Dr. Park is being employed as an associate professor in the University of Chicago, his subject being the Negro in America. . . . Our friends will soon see the significance of our having a man who think as we do in such an important position as a professor at the University of Chicago. Dr. Thomas tells me Dr. Park is making a great hit with his work."

The problem is that Park (Robbins 1996:31-32) was fairly conservative within the liberal realm on race relations. Park followed William Graham Sumner's idea that the state could not change deep-rooted racial customs. Although Park rejected the idea of white supremacy, he still held on to some pseudo-biological ideas and used phrases such as "the Negro's metier is expression rather than action" or "he has a genial, sunny disposition" or "he is primarily an artist".

Park (Robbins 1996:31) established the liberal approach to race relations that still exists today. One of Park's most influential ideas in race relations was his well-known cyclical theory -- the transition from competition, to conflict, to accommodation, to eventual assimilation. Many liberals of the day liked this because they took assimilation to imply racial integration.

Park influenced a whole generation and more of sociologists specializing in race relations. Ernest W. Burgess (1961:17-18) listed some of these sociologists. They included Charles S. Johnson who wrote The Negro in American Civilization; Edward B. Reuter, author of The Mulatto in the United States; Louis Wirth who wrote The Ghetto; E. Franklin Frazier, author of The Negro Family in the United States; Joseph D. Lohman, director of the Study of Segregation in the Nation's Capital; Samuel A. Stouffer senior author of The American Soldier; Everett C. Hughes; Helen McGill Hughes; Horace Cayton, Black Metropolis; Lewis Copeland; Bingham Dai; John Dollard, Caste and Class in a Southern Town; Frederick G. Detweiler, The Negro Press in the United States; Guy B. Johnson; William H. Jones, The Housing of the Negro in Washington, D.C.; Forrest La Violette; Andrew W. Lind; Charles Parrish; Donald Pierson, Negroes in Brazil; Robert Redfield; Everett V. Stonequist, The Marginal Man; Robert L. Sutherland, Color, Class and Personality; Edgar T. Thompson, Race Relations and the Race Problem; and Bertram W. Doyle, The Etiquette of Race Relations in the South.

In 1961 a book of essays (Masuoka and Valien 1961) devoted to Robert E. Park on the occasion of the dedication of the Park-Johnson Hall at Fisk University was published. Park, after retiring from the University of Chicago, joined the faculty at the black Fisk University. It is interesting that very little is made of Park's work with Booker T. Washington. It is only mentioned. For instance, Ernest W. Burgess (1961:15) wrote that Park remarked to him that he (Park) "had learned more from Washington than from any of his teachers. . . . Washington saw that the progress of the Negro depended basically on his success in developing economic competence and independence to which, if achieved, other things would be added." It is interesting that Burgess did not mention Washington's approach as flawed.

Park was not very innovative. Washington had already been well received by sociologists. Washington spoke to the Washington Conference of the National Sociological Society on November 10, 1903 (Booker T. Washington Papers, Volume 7:340). Obviously, the sociologists did not have a problem with Booker T. Washington's views.

One of the problems with Park's influence is that since he wrote within the tradition of liberal racism, he founded American race sociology on the liberal's typical insistence that race is only a serious social problem, not a structural problem requiring structural changes. His liberalism was too conservative and it affected his students.

William I. Thomas

W. I. Thomas first met Robert Park at a conference at Tuskegee. At the invitation of Washington (although the invitation was written by Park), Thomas spoke at The International Conference on the Negro April 19, 1912 at Tuskegee Institute. The conference was Park's idea. The Tuskegee Student (Raushenbush 1979:67) reported that "Professor Thomas revived the old question of the fitness of the Negro as a race to acquire the culture of the white man and participate in the white man's civilization, but he did it in a novel and a surprisingly witty manner".

Four days after the conference ended, Thomas (Raushenbush 1979:68) wrote Park a letter (with the introduction "My dear brother in Christ") saying that "I am amazed to find how ignorant I was before I met you and how wise I seem to be now." Obviously, Thomas was impressed by this supporter of Booker T. Washington's philosophy. Thomas wrote about his being so inspired that he was thinking of dropping his own study of the peasant question in Europe and taking up the study of blacks. He asked Park if he could not go with him to the West Indies to study blacks there.

At the International Conference on the Negro at Tuskegee in 1912, Park's address so impressed Professor W. I. Thomas of the University of Chicago sociology department that he invited Park to come to Chicago to give a course on the Negro. Obviously, this course would have been influenced by the philosophy of Booker T. Washington, even if modified by the growing criticism of Washington.

Thomas offered Park a lectureship at the University of Chicago in 1914 (Booker T. Washington Papers Volume 8:203). By that time, Park, as a good liberal, had identified himself with the National Urban League (rather than the NAACP). He was present at the first meeting of the Urban League when it was organized in New York and he was the first president of the League in Chicago (Raushenbush 1979:73). (It is noteworthy that the Urban League is a less political organization than the N.A.A.C.P. with more of a focus on helping urban black youth.)

Quoted earlier, remember that Washington in a letter to Emmett Jay Scott (Oct. 23, 1913; Booker T. Washington Papers;Volume 12:320) wrote that "Dr. Thomas tells me Dr. Park is making a great hit with his work." Obviously, Thomas had no problem with Park's and Washington's racial separatism.

Albion Small

There is no mention of race in the indexes of two books on Albion W. Small (Christakes 1978 and Dibble 1975). But there is some indirect indication of Small's attitudes from a letter to Robert E. Park from W. I. Thomas who wrote that he told Albion Small about his meeting with Park and that Small was "going in together on this thing" with Park. Small said he had gotten a "very fine impression" of Park at their first meeting each other (Rauschenbush 1979:69). Obviously, Small liked Park, and apparently Park's association with Washington was no discouragement.

Charles S. Johnson

The black sociologist Charles Johnson (Raushenbush 1979:94) was one of Park's ablest students. He started graduate school in 1916. Johnson worked under Park's direction, in the Chicago Urban League's Department of Investigation and Research on a study of wartime black migrations.

Following the decline of Booker T's influence, sociologists could afford to be more critical. Du Bois and E. Franklin Frazier ( Robbins 1996:27) thought that Johnson's sociological work was too conservative, too dependent on whites. Johnson was critical of some aspects of Booker T. Washington's program, but he knew what Washington had known: "the struggle could not go forward without heavy support from powerful whites in the business community" (Robbins 1996:28).

Carter G. Woodson

The father of black history, Carter G. Woodson (Googin 1993: 197&158), advanced a view of education that was similar to those of both Booker T. Washington and Du Bois. Like Frederick Douglass and Booker T. Washington, Woodson believed that blacks needed practical vocational training rather than classical education, and he praised the establishment of Tuskegee Institute. In a speech at the dedication of Washington's restored birthplace, Woodson described Washington as a brilliant educator who had "revolutionized" black education. In The Negro in Our History, Woodson also praised Washington's achievements as an educator.

W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois was one of the founders of the NAACP, but the early Du Bois supported Booker T. Washington. David Levering Lewis (1994: 120) writes that at the age of twenty-two Du Bois's views were in accord with the new order in race relations that brought about the separate but equal institutions of Jim Crow.

After Washington's Atlanta speech that made the Tuskeggean famous, Du Bois sent him a telegram (quoted in Lewis 1994: 175), saying "Let me heartily congratulate you upon your phenomenal success at Atlanta -- it was a word fitly spoken." He followed it up with a letter to the New York Age saying that "here might be the basis of a real settlement between whites and blacks in the South . . ."

In a speech in 1897 before the American Negro Academy, Du Bois made it clear that he advocated not integration but parallel development, "side by side in peace and mutual happiness"; not social equality but "social equilibrium" a goal that Booker Washington would have roundly applauded had he been there. He (Lewis 1994: 173) said that the first and greatest step "toward the settlement of the present friction between the races lies in the correction of the immorality, crime, and laziness among the Negroes themselves" The speech was later issued as a fifteen-page pamphlet under the title "The Conservation of Races."

When in 1899 at a meeting of the National Afro-American Council in Chicago there were many attacks on Washington, Du Bois (Lewis 1994: 230) stood out as one of Washington's loudest defenders, voting with the majority for a resolution excusing Washington from participation in organizational discussion "which might be radical in its utterances to the destruction of his usefulness in connection with many causes." Washington thought so highly of, and was on such good terms with, Du Bois that after Washington lost his personal secretary, the position was offered to Du Bois (Raushenbush 1979:39). In fact, Washington even offered Du Bois a position at Tuskegee. After giving the matter a great deal of thought, Du Bois (Lewis 1994: 244-245) informed Washington in 1900 that he had decided not to accept the offer. Du Bois had begun to be skeptical of Washington by now but he did not want to alienate the Wizard as he still needed the Booker T's indulgence, if not his goodwill. Superficially, their relations remained cooperative and cordial. He attended a conference at Tuskegee and made several more visits there as well. He even went on a well publicized West Virginia fishing and camping trip with Washington and others. As late as 1907 Du Bois (Lewis 1994: 365) teamed together with the Wizard in a jointly authored book about southern conditions. The two authors, however, did differ remarkably in their interpretations.

Conclusions

This paper clearly demonstrates that sociologists are often off-track as far as truth is concerned. While seeing themselves in glowing terms as humanitarians and supporters of the underdog, they are often not even aware that they are actually supporting racial separatism. And in this sense, their political stance is fairly characterized as racist. It is a "liberal" racism, but it is still racism. Like Booker T. Washington, sociologists largely live and work within the confines of a racist system that never makes enough structural changes to actually end racism.


Appendix: A Small List of Supporters, Friends, Associates, and Go-Alongs with Booker T. Washington

Charles Francis Adams, Jr. Boston historian and reformer
Susan B. Anthony prominent worker for women's civil rights
Paul Brandon Barringer president Virginia Polytechnic Institute (1907-1913)
Mary McLeod Bethune black social worker & founder of Bethune-Cookman College
Franz Boaz famed anthropologist
William Ingersoll Bowditch Garrisonian abolitionist; his home Underground Railroad stop
Richard Henry Boyd Head of the National Baptist Publishing House
Lloyd Stephens Bryce editor, North American Review
William Lewis Bulkley first black principal of a predominantly white school
Francis Joseph Campbell reformer for the blind
Archibald J. Carey black minister and promoter of social welfare programs
Charles W. Chestnutt black novelist
Grover Cleveland president of the United States
Edward Cummings sociology professor, Harvard University
Charles William Dabney president of the University of Tennessee
William Benjamin Derrick bishop of the A.M.E. church
W. E. B. Du Bois black sociologist and later founder of NAACP
Paul Laurence Dunbar black poet of the Harlem Renaissance
Charles William Eliot president of Harvard University (1869-1909)
Charles Fleischer rabbi Temple Israel in Boston; editor of the N.Y. American
T. Thomas Fortune black civil rights activist
Bettie G. Cox Francis black social leader in Washington D.C.
George Augustus Gates president of Pomona College and Fisk University
Bradley Gilman Unitarian clergyman; editor Christian Register
Elizabeth Barlett Grannis editor of Church Union & friend of William Cullent Bryant
Joel Chandler Harris famous Southern writer
Lucius Henry Holsey black senior bishop Colored Methodist Episcopal Church
Oliver Otis Howard Howard University named after this man
William Dean Howells prominent writer
William James famous American psychologist and philosopher
Anna Thomas Jeanes Quaker philanthropist
Ellen Cheney Johnson Massachusetts prison reformer
James Weldon Johnson became famed organizer for NAACP
Samuel McCune Lindsay sociologist at Univ. of Penn (suggested Du Bois)
Hamilton Wright Mabie editor of the Christian Union/Outlook
Samuel Sidney McClure publisher of McClure's Magazine
William Denison McCrackan president of the Manhattan Single-Tax Club
St. Clair McKelway editor-in-chief of the Brooklyn Eagle
Edwin Doak Mead prominent Boston reformer and editor
Kelly Miller black sociologist at Howard University
Elliston Perot Morris Philadelphia Quaker philanthropist
J. Garfield Moses New York settlement house director
Edgar Gardner Murphy prominent Southern racial liberal
John Henry Murphy president & general manager Baltimore Afro-American
New York Times editors
Walter Hines Page editor of Atlantic Monthly
Caroline H. Pemberton Philadelphia writer and social worker
Bliss Perry editor of Atlantic Monthly
Adam Clayton Powell, Sr. famous black cleric
Rev. Reverdy Cassius Ransom black civil rights activist
William Thomas Reid president University of California
Jacob Riis famous photographer & author of How the Other Half Lives
Alice Mary Robertson U.S. Dept. of the Interior school supervisor for Creek Nation
Theodore Roosevelt president of the United States
Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin prominent Boston black clubwoman
William Jay Schieffelin president of Citizen's Union, a New York City reform party
Jacob Henry Schiff major contributor to Tuskegee
Robert Elliott Speer secretary of Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions
W. Allison Sweeney black editor of Indianapolis World, Monitor, etc.
Robert H. Terrell husband of black civil rights activist, Mary Church Terrell
William Howard Taft president of the United States
Twain, Mark famous American author
Leila Usher sculptor of busts of Susan B. Anthony & John Wesley Powell


Bibliography

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McKee, James B.
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Meier, August
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Robbins, Richard
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Scott, Clifford H.
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Stanfield, John H.
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Stow, Persons
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Thornbrough, E. L. (ed.)
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Tilman, Rick
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Timasheff, Nicholas S.
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Weinberg, Julius
1972 Edward Alsworth Ross and the Sociology of Progressivism. Madison: The State Histroical Society of Wisconsin.

 

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