The Prescience of Booker T. Washington

Tuskegee Institute- Booker T. Washington founded the Tuskegee Normal School for Colored Teachers on a former plantation. It was later named the Tuskegee Institute

On his TV show Bill O’Reilly asked  who is the main loser in the Baltimore riots and answered that it is the poor black people of Baltimore (all blacks poor or not are 64% of Baltimore, the City government is nearly all black). O’Reilly is correct on who loses, but the more interesting question is who benefits from black violence in Baltimore, and Ferguson and wherever else these riots occur.

Booker T. Washington made this prescient statement in 1911:

There is another class of coloured people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs, and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs — partly because they want sympathy and partly because it pays. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs.

I am afraid that there is a certain class of race-problem solvers who don’t want the patient to get well, because as long as the disease holds out they have not only an easy means of making a living, but also an easy medium through which to make themselves prominent before the public.

— Booker T. Washington, from My Larger Education, Chapter V, The Intellectuals and the Boston Mob (pg. 118)

Booker T. Washington was talking about agitators he knew in his own time, but he also predicted the Al Sharptons and Barack Obamas of the future.  Obama says he’ll go back to community agitating organizing when he leaves the presidency. That makes sense because that’s all he knows how to do.

This was first posted in 2015.

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