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


Booker T. Washington’s leadership style was intentionally unpretentious. When speaking before a crowd, he wore a plain suit, no vest, and a subtle bow tie. He presented himself as a humble representative of his race. He wanted the listener to hear his words rather than be distracted by his appearance. His speaking style was similar to Abraham Lincoln’s, self-deprecating, using rustic, folksy humor. His humor often included “darky” stories using black dialect. Though his intent was to warm his audience, his critics determined he pandered to his white audiences.

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