Atlanta Compromise Speech

While WEB DuBois’s prayer and writing this week seemed honestly pretty normal to me given the historical context, Booker T Washington’s speech absolutely irritated me. The entire speech was pandering to white people in the most inane ways, talking about how well-behaved his race would be now and how ignorant they were to try to gain political office and how his advice to black people is to just be content with their station. It was positively the most depressing speech I’ve ever read. While it’s understandable that he felt the need to downplay the conflict between black and white people given he was responding to the rising conflicts (and lynchings) of the times, it’s a little bit spooky as a minority to see a major figure in another minority have represented themselves as docile and willing to work with those extremely nice oppressors they’ve got, instead of fighting back tooth and nail. However, that might also be my own refusal to compromise on anything speaking as well.

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