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Washington’s Education System

Although the Civil War granted liberation to the African-Americans in the United States, their place in society has remained uncertain. Booker T. Washington was one of the two prominent figures of that time who advocated for the education of African-Americans without opposing the idea of segregation. This paper will examine the specifics of Washington’s vision of an education system for African-Americans and why this approach appealed to the Southerners.

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Washington’s education system for African-Americans was rooted in the idea of them contributing to society through labor. Hence, subjects of liberal arts were not of interest to Washington as they have no practical application. Instead, he believed that African-Americans can study fields such as agriculture to be able to contribute to the community’s wellbeing through labor. This approach meant that former slaves had many limits to the careers they could pursue as opposed to white citizens.

This system appeals to the white Southerners because Washington advocated for the need for African-Americans to work in labor-intensive fields, for example, agriculture or industry. He did not place emphasis on voting rates or abandonment of segregation, unlike DuBois. Hence, this system does not threaten their ideal of racial separation since he advocated for the need of African-Americans to improve their status in society by working hard instead of fighting against separation. This approach makes Washington a controversial figure since his views were supported by the white Southerners and opposed the freedom of African-Americans. Hence, he was not openly agitating against segregation, meaning that his philosophy did not threaten the Southerner’s ideal of having separate institutions for the whites and African-Americans. However, this allowed him to establish his institute and help African-Americans get an education and jobs.

Apart from education, he believed that the African-Americans should palace less emphasis on voting rights. In general, it appears that the approach taken by Washington was aimed at using the freedoms that the African-Americans have received after the abolishment of slavery without further advancing their rights. However, segregation and voting rights for the African-Americans were a pressing issue since this community could not study in the same facilities as white citizens.

Washington advocated for the practical approach to the education of former slaves because this was the path he has taken. After the abolishment of slavery, he studied at Hampton to gain competence in industrial studies. Perhaps Washington’s background as a Southerner and a former slave affected his philosophy. Booker T. Washington’s life fits the “American Dream” because he managed to gain success and financial stability through hard work. I do fully believe his life story because it is consistent, and his views represent his background. Due to the fact that he grew up in the South and saw education as the only way to achieve something, he advocated for the same for his community. Moreover, his philosophy appealed to the white Southerners because he did not advocate for an uprising and militant approach, unlike DuBois.

In summary, this paper reviews the education system proposed by Washington. He advocated for industrial and agricultural education for the African-Americans. However, he did not believe that voting rights or segregation should be addressed. Washington’s views allowed him to get along with the population of white Southerners and successfully provide education opportunities to African-Americans. His life story appears to be consistent with the views he expressed, which is why I think that Washington’s life story is believable.

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