James Lee Dickey: An Analysis of One African-American's Leadership in Jim Crow Texas

Opposition to Racial Uplift

 Not everyone agreed with Booker T. Washington’s philosophy for racial uplift. His opponents argued that blacks were the only people making concessions. Critics argued that Washington's method was too gradual and that black lives were lost while he advised his people to be patient. Lynchings declined overall after 1897 but the number of African American incarcerated increased during the same years. More radical activists pointed out that whites abused the social status of blacks and even accused Booker T. Washington of supporting white supremacy. Even a former ally, W. E. B. Du Bois wrote in The Souls of Black Folk in 1903 "Mr. Washington's programme practically accepts the alleged inferiority of the Negro races." Previously, the Boston Guardian editor, William Monroe Trotter referred to Washington as "the Benedict Arnold of the Negro race," and "the Great Traitor," and published a cartoon characterizing Washington as a fairy tale witch boiling a black child identified as "Negroes' Rights." As one can imagine, Washington was deeply wounded by the misconception but steadfastly maintained his message until his death in 1915.

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