Introduction
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INTRODUCTION THE THIRD VOLUME OF The Booker T. W.ashington Papers traces Washington's career from the end of May I88g until September I8, I8g5, when Washington delivered what is often called the Atlanta Compromise address at the Cotton States and International Exposition in Atlanta, Georgia. The volume reveals Washington's gradual rise to prominence as an educator, race leader, and shrewd political broker. All of the characteristics of Washington's racial leadership after I895 are foreshadowed in his years of relative obscurity before I895ยท Much of the volume relates to Washington's role as principal of Tuskegee Institute. In building his institution, he was also building a powerful base of operations for his growing influence with white philanthropists in the North. At the same time, Washington furthered his involvement with white southern politicians and community leaders in the interest of his school. He also inaugurated the Tuskegee Negro Conferences to extend his influence with black citizens of Macon County and other Black Belt counties of Alabama. Washington found outlet for his protean energy in overseeing all aspects of his school. This volume also shows Washington's development as a racial spokesman . The Atlanta Compromise address influenced American race relations for decades. Yet the policies of gradualism, economic striving, and accommodation to existing social and political conditions that launched Washington into national prominence were present much earlier as thoughts in Washington's mind. For better or probably worse in American race relations, in I895 Washington's accommodationism was an idea whose time had come. Whether it anticipated or arose out of conditions is a fine point. The great Reconstruction leader and civil rights advocate Frederick Douglass was dead. Washington, the Negro XXl The BooKER T. WASHINGTON Papers of the hour, emerged from the wings to bid for a place as the leader of his race. Continuing an editorial policy established in Volume 2, the editors include much incoming correspondence. In the earlier volume this was necessary primarily to compensate for gaps in the documentary record and to give greater dimension to Washington's life and times. In this volume, however, the main reason for including incoming letters is to reveal the rich social history they contain. Incoming letters from members of Washington's family, including his sweetheart and third wife Margaret James Murray Washington, his daughter Portia Marshall Washington, his sister-in-law Mary A. Elliott, and others, provide additional insight into Washington's personal life. Letters from former Tuskegee students to their mentor also add depth to the papers. Letters of northern philanthropists and foundation agents, who supported Washington and his school regularly for years, often illustrate important friendships with Washington. Many of the donors to Tuskegee were women, often descendants of abolitionist families. Their role in reform movements and philanthropy deserves not to be overshadowed by that of the industrial millionaires such as Rockefeller and Carnegie, important though they also were. The editors will not hereafter cite sources of quotations or literary allusions in Washington's speeches, except where their importance warrants mention. Many of the quoted passages appear in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations. Errors in annotation or attribution will be corrected in the next mention after discovery. Any textual errors will be cited in an Errata section in the introduction of the subsequent volume. Documents that involve conduct or allegations of a scandalous nature are included only if they substantially contribute to understanding Washington and his milieu. These references range from idle gossip to criminal conduct. Inclusion of a document does not mean a judgment of the validity of the statements it contains. Although the editors believe that the omission of names would be a disservice to history, in some cases they have avoided full identification of the persons involved, on the ground that the event itself and Washington's response to it are more important than the persons. A number of documents cited in Volumes 2 and 3 from the Tuskegee Institute Archives were photocopied by our staff in Ig68 and Ig6g. Subsequently the originals in Containers I through I 9 were inadvertently destroyed by fire. In this and future volumes wherever reference XXll INTRODUCTION is made to these documents the citation will include the words "original destroyed." In this and subsequent volumes, letters from W. E. B. Du Bois are published with the permission of Mrs. Shirley Graham Du Bois and the University of Massachusetts Press, publishers of The Correspondence of W. E. B. DuBois (Vol. I, 1973). No further publication of these letters is...


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