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The Education of Booker T. Washington: American Democracy and the Idea of Race Relations

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by Michael West
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The Education of Booker T. Washington: American Democracy and the Idea of Race Relations by Michael West

In this major reconsideration of Booker T. Washington's life and thought, Michael Rudolph West explores why Washington's ideas resonated so strongly in the post-Reconstruction era and considers their often negative influence on the ongoing struggle for equality in the United States. According to West, Washington's "race relations" offered a "solution" to the problem of racial oppression in a nation professing its belief in democracy. In practice, though, his theories lent support to the supposition that African Americans could prosper under Jim Crow without the normal levers by which other Americans pursued their interests. West contends that Washington did not seek to end the segregationist policies of southern states. Instead, he offered an ideology that would obscure the injustices of segregation and preserve some measure of racial peace. By embracing Washington's views, white Americans could then resolve the contradictions raised by segregation in a supposedly democratic society. This was (and is) Washington's legacy: a form of racial analysis, at once obvious and concealed, that continues to prohibit the realization of a truly democratic politics.

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Ebook Details
Pages: 296
Size: 3.6 MB
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Date published:   2006
ISBN: 9780231503822 (DRM-PDF)

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Nonfiction > History > United States
Nonfiction > Social Science > Ethnic Studies
Nonfiction > Social Science > Ethnic Studies > African American Studies

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01/19/2017
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