Industrial Revolution in America (1870-1900) demanded a new social order and improved schooling system, new life philosophy and labor relations. Booker T Washington was one of the leaders who foreshadowed industrial changes and saw roots of social transformations in improved educational facilities and new philosophy of education. Thesis The main contribution of Washington is a new vision of education (“industrial education”), participation in political, economic and social life and support of industrial and personal development of black population and the South.
Washington transformed traditional education and created a new concept of ‘industrial education’. He supposed that moral training was much more important than intellectual instruction. He believed that the black race should abstain from politics and civil rights agitation until industrial education should have done its work. Industrial education was not so much technical as moral (Verney 38). Washington explained that ‘industrial education’ should help a man to improve his self-image and level of professional skills.
In order to promote eh idea of “industrial education” and support black population, Washington opened his own school in 1881 in Alabama. The main benefit of this school was that Washington applied his philosophy of education to conditions of Southern regions and economic development of the South. “Its programs emphasized industrial training as a means to self-respect and economic independence for black people” (Washington 50271). Booker T Washington was an advisor of the African American community taking an active part in political, economic and social life of this period.
In many cases Washington not only seemed to agree with those whites who were moderate in their racial views and conservative in their economic views, he actually did agree with them, and they correctly sensed his response (Brock n. d. ). Following Verney (2001): In his solicitation for funds in the North, he carried letters of endorsement from a succession of Alabama governors and superintendents of education, for whom Tuskegee Institute was both an economic stimulant and a social tranquilizer (67).
Washington had a great impact on political life in the region trying to solve racial problems and segregation. Financially, he received support from philanthropists, and introduced and organized educational programs for black students. In social sphere he had a great impact on views and life perception of black population promulgating ideas of equality and skillful labor (Verney 87). Publicly, Washington accepted a separate and unequal life for black people, but accepted black strength, self-improvement, and mutual aid.
Booker T Washington supported industrial development in all spheres of life reinterpreting the role of black people in economy. “With the coming Industrial Revolution of the North, Washington envisioned many economic opportunities for freedmen in the South” (Brock n. d. ). Washington supported the idea of industrialization of the South and economic development of the poor regions. “This industrial training, emphasizing as it does the idea of economic production, is gradually bringing the South to the point where it is feeding itself” (Washington n. d. ).
He saw improved position of black people as the main source of industrial development of the nation (Verney 87). Washington supported and welcomed industrial Revolution and economic progress through new educational approaches and social support of the coming changes. He stated that Industrial revolution opened new perspectives and opportunities for a wide number of people employed in industry including black population and former slaves. Washington supposed that industrial development of the South and improved conditions of life would benefit the whole country.
He saw “industrial education” and personal development of black population as the main engine of Industrial Revolution. Works Cited 1. Brock, R. E. N. d. Cast Down Your Buckets Where You Are. 07 June 2007, from <http://afgen. com/cast_down. html> 2. Washington, B. T. n. d. The Awakening of the Negro (1896). 07 June 2007, from <http://xroads. virginia. edu/~hyper/WASHINGTON/awakening. html> 3. Washington, Booker Taliaferro. The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2004. 50271. 4. Verney, K. J. Art of the Possible: Booker T. Washington. Garland Publishing Inc, US, 2001.
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