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The Business Strategy of Booker T. Washington

Its Development and Implementation

Michael B. Boston

Publication Year: 2010

Michael Boston offers a radical departure from other interpretations of Booker T. Washington by focusing on the latter’s business ideas and practices.

More specifically, Boston examines Washington as an entrepreneur, spelling out his business philosophy at great length and discussing the influence it had on black America. He analyzes the national and regional economies in which Washington worked and focuses on his advocacy of black business development as the key to economic uplift for African Americans.

The result is a revisionist book that responds to the skewed literature on Washington even as it offers a new framework for understanding him. Based upon a deep reading of the Tuskegee archives, it acknowledges Washington not only as a champion of black business development but one who conceived and implemented successful strategies to promote it as well.

The Business Strategy of Booker T. Washington makes abundantly clear that Washington was not an accommodationist; it will be required reading for any future discussion of this titan of history.

Published by: University Press of Florida


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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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p. vii

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pp. ix-x

would like to thank a number of extraordinary people who helped me to complete my book. I thank Dr. Rashid Hamid, who was a great teacher and mentor to me while I was an undergraduate student at Oneonta State College. I thank Dr. Mwalimu J. Shujaa for sharing with me his extensive knowledge of research...

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pp. xi-xv

Booker T. Washington, one of the most controversial leaders in African- American history, rose to prominence as head of Tuskegee Institute in Macon County, Alabama. Using Tuskegee Institute as a power base and launching pad for his efforts to improve the plight of African Americans, Washington became one of the most...

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1. The Setting That Shaped Booker T. Washington’s Entrepreneurial Philosophy

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pp. 1-27

The Reconstruction era strongly influenced Booker T. Washington’s entrepreneurial ideas, and they were shaped, developed, and reinforced as a result of the political, economic, and social settings of the United States in the post-Reconstruction era, especially the general Southern milieu in the period from 1877 to...

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2. Key Influences that Helped to Mold and Develop Washington’s Entrepreneurial Ideas

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pp. 28-56

Booker T. Washington’s entrepreneurial ideas were influenced by a multitude of individuals and events throughout his relatively short life. By his early adult years, twenty-eight to thirty-two, his entrepreneurial philosophy had been established. Influences after these years extended his essential philosophy but mainly just reinforced...

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3. The Entrepreneurial Ideas of Booker T. Washington

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pp. 57-74

As noted earlier, most of the studies done on Booker T. Washington have concentrated exclusively on his views concerning industrial education or his supposedly accommodationist leadership stance, either supporting or opposing Du Bois’ famous critique. These studies, however, do not even begin to fully explain another...

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4. The Negro Farmers’ Conference: Helping Those Near and Far

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pp. 75-90

Beginning in the early 1970s and taking his lead from August Meier,1 historian Louis Harlan, after studying many of Washington’s papers in the Library of Congress, began to write of a private or behind-the-scenes Booker T. Washington that many scholars...

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5. The National Negro Business League: A History and Analysis

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pp. 91-113

The NNBL was another forum in which Booker T. Washington espoused his entrepreneurial ideas and, as in his statements during the Negro Farmers’ Conference, there was no inconsistency between his public and private articulations of...

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6. Fundraising, Management, and Industrial Education: Booker T. Washington as a Business Executive and Promoter of the Tuskegee Spirit

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pp. 114-128

Long before establishing either the Negro Farmers’ Conference at Tuskegee Institute or the NNBL, Booker T. Washington conducted himself as an executive and was a driving force behind maintaining Tuskegee Institute’s very existence.1 His role...

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7. Washington’s Broad Economic Influence on African-American Life and History

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pp. 129-144

Before concluding a study on Washington’s entrepreneurial ideas and practices, a scholar should attempt to deal with questions involving the historical significance of Washington’s economic program and legacy. Although the African-American self-help movement, which occurred immediately before and during the nadir...

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Conclusion: Booker T. Washington, a Shrewd Strategist

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pp. 145-152

This book calls for a reconstruction of the manner in which Booker T. Washington is written and taught of, emphasizing that understanding his entrepreneurial philosophy is essential to understanding him since it was the crucial component of all his uplift programs. Washington’s entrepreneurial philosophy was shaped and...


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pp. 153-196


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pp. 197-234


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pp. 235-243

About the Author

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p. 244

E-ISBN-13: 9780813043197
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813034737
Print-ISBN-10: 0813034736

Page Count: 308
Illustrations: 8 tables
Publication Year: 2010

OCLC Number: 801842335
MUSE Marc Record: Download for The Business Strategy of Booker T. Washington

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Subject Headings

  • Washington, Booker T., 1856-1915.
  • Washington, Booker T., 1856-1915 -- Philosophy.
  • African American business enterprises -- History.
  • African American leadership -- History.
  • African Americans -- Economic conditions.
  • African American businesspeople -- Biography.
  • Entrepreneurship -- United States -- Biography.
  • Success in business -- United States.
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