Saturday, September 10, 2016

Newspaper Criticizes Booker T. Washington for Dining With White Family in New York, September 1905

From The Gold Leaf, Thursday, Sept. 7, 1905.

Booker Washington explains his dining with John Wanamaker at the hotel in Saratoga. He says he did not escort any members of the Wanamaker family to the table, but that he did “dine with Mr. Wanamaker and his family at the hotel at his request for the purpose of talking on a matter of business.” At that time he says he was a guest at a colored hotel in Saratoga. Washington says that on three other occasions in the last 15 years he has lived “at the hotel where Mr. Wanamaker was.” Washington says: “When in the south I conform like all colored people, to the customs of the South, but when in the North I have found it necessary during the past 20 years to come into contact with white people in the furtherance of my work in ways I do not in the South.”

In other words, Washington does not attempt to force social equality with the white people of the South because he knows it will not be allowed, but as soon as he gets across Mason’s and Dixon’s line, he drops his own people as associates and practices that social equality against which he preaches when at home.

Does Washington expect the negroes of the South to follow his advice or his example? If the negroes who look to him for instruction and guidance find him practicing social equality at the North will they not wish to follow his example, and if they can not go North to put it into effect, they will wish to try it in the south. If Washington really wants to aid his race, he must forego association socially with white people at the North as well as at the South.

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