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Equality In Up From Slavery By Booker T. Washington Essay

“In all things that are purely social we can be as separate as the finger, yet one as the hand in all things essential to mutual progress. ” (Washington, p. 107) This expresses how no matter what race, country or gender you are from, you are still needed in society to improve the country as a whole. Throughout the beginning of American history, Americans have fought for freedom and equality from their mother country. Even in the recent years, people fought for gay marriage equality, giving homosexuals the right to marry the person they love and have the same benefits as other marriages have.

In fact, some people may be concerned about what equality really means; Equality means that you are given equal status, rights and opportunities regardless of the race, ethnicity, or anything that might discriminates you. Equality opens up many doors for individuals giving them an option to become better in society. But in equality, there will always be problems either racially or socially. In Booker T. Washington’s book, Up from Slavery, Washington discusses how his race is not socially, and economically equal to other races.

The question that arises from his book is that can the majority and minority race live together? Washington deals with the race question by using Industrial Education. With the hard-work and dedication to learning a new trade and slowly acquiring property, it would allow the southern whites to become more accepting of his race and grant them the rights that they deserve. Washington used himself as an example that his race can also arise in society. Washington didn’t want his race to fight for what they don’t have but instead he wants them to gain knowledge and slow acquire the rights when they were ready for it.

Jane Addams also had a question to ask society, but her question was quite different than Booker T. Washington. In Addams book, Twenty Years At Hull-House, Addams discusses the social and economic problems that were faced by the poor people, especially the immigrants in Chicago. The question that arises from Addams book is can these outsiders become Americans. Addams gives many solutions to the social question. She uses activities like the clubs, which help the poor immigrants from Chicago, to assimilate and adopted American culture.

Instead of being the role model for the foreigners, she used Abraham Lincoln. He was poorest of the poor white and rose in society to become a president. She was eager to show the immigrants that they can do the same if they began to accept and learn about American culture. Both Addams and Washington were individuals who were eager to improve the lives of the minority and grant them equality. Washington was born a slave in a small and hazardous log cabin in Virginia. As a child, Washington didn’t spend much time with his mother. She would often be too busy working as a plantation cook.

She didn’t have much resource to provide her family with enough food, resulting her to steal food from the plantation. “One of my earliest recollections is that of my mother cooking a chicken late at night and awakening her children for the purpose of feeding them. How or where she got it I don’t know. Some people may call this theft. If such thing were to happened now, I should condemn it as theft myself. ” (Washington, pp. 2-3) Although Washington recognized his mother wrongdoing, he did not accuse her because she was a victim of the system of slavery.

Since a child, Washington had a burning desire for education. “I had a feeling that to get into a schoolhouse and study in this way would be about the same as getting into paradise. ” (Washington, p. 4) He compared learning and education to paradise. In addition, he demonstrates how the he and the slaves didn’t feel any revenge toward the southern whites. In fact, the slaves had this bond toward his masters. “When the two young masters were brought home wounded, the sympathy of the slaves was shown in many ways. They were just anxious to assist in the nursing as the family relatives.

Some of the slaves would even beg for the privilege of sitting up at night to nurse their wounded master. ” (Washington p. 6) The slaves were eager to care for their wounded master. Once the slaves were emancipated, former slaves realized that they had huge responsibilities. They went from being someone property to becoming extremely poor. Instead of blaming the system, Washington claim that African-Americans mastered a skill and learned to work hard. Washington obtained a job and his stepfather noticed that he was bringing in money to the family.

As a result, he was not able to attend the school in the Kanawha Valley. However it didn’t prevent Washington from learning. “I determined that I would learn something… I applied myself with greater earnestness than ever to the mastering of what was in the ‘blue-back’ speller,” Washington said. (Washington p. 15) He was very eager to attended Hampton Institute that he didn’t care about any obstacles. “I felt that I had reached the promised-land, and I resolved to let no obstacle prevent me from putting forth the highest effort to fit myself to accomplish the most good in the world. (Washington p. 24) He was granted the opportunity to study there after the teacher told him to sweep the floor. Washington left the room spotless which allowed him to enter the school. In order to pay of the school tuitions, he was offered a janitor position. Washington work extremely hard and study whenever he had the opportunity to.

After graduating Hamptons, he was given a position to teach in his hometown. “I now felt that I had the opportunity to help the people of my home town to a higher life. ” (Washington, p. 6) He was happy that he can now give back to his community and help other become better educated. Washington rose from not having much knowledge into become a smart individual, who cherish hard work and dedication. After the slaves became emancipated, there were a lot of concerns between the southern whites and the African Americans. Most of the African-Americans didn’t know what exactly to do. They were stun with the amount of responsibility they needed to know. The former slaves went from being someone property into extreme poverty.

In addition, much of the south started to pass discriminatory laws. Groups like the Ku Klux Klan regulated the activities of the African-Americans. “Their objects, in the main, were to crush out the political aspirations of the Negroes, but they did not confine themselves to this, because schoolhouses as well as churches were burned by them, and many innocent persons were made to suffer. ” (Washington, p. 37) Much of the population of the African-Americans was decreasing in the south. Washington didn’t want his race to go to the north; however, he wanted his race cast down their buckets in the south.

In order for the African-Americans to obtain all of the political rights, they must prove to the southern whites that they have enough material possession, skills and demeanor to be successful. He wants them to find a trade and master that specific trade. Adding that any type of work is honorable work and only lazy work is degradable. “No race can prosper till it learns that there is as much dignity in tilling a field as in writing a poem. It is at the bottom of life we must begin, and not at the top. Nor should we permit our grievances to overshadow our opportunities. (Washington, p. 107) Washington feels that the African-Americans should not fight for equal right; instead, they should acquire these right slowly. Washington believes that his race must be prepared to be able to use the rights. “It is important and right that all the privileges of the law be ours, but it is vastly more important that we be prepared for the exercises of these privileges. ” (Washington, p. 109) Washington concluded that with economic development it would lead to political development, eventually granting them their rights.

Therefore, equality would come slowly as long as the African-Americans did the things that Washington said to do. Booker T. Washington wanted to inspire other African-Americans to gain their rights. In order to obtain your rights, you needed to be economically stable. As a result, Booker T. Washington continue to say that they need to learn a trade and eventually that will help become economically stable. Washington founded the Tuskegee Institution on July 4th 1881, where they taught about Industrial Education.

African-Americans obtaining an education would make them less dependent of the state and become more economically independent. “Some had the feeling that in proportion as the Negro received education, in the same proportion would his value decrease as an economic factor in the state. ” (Washington, p. 57) At first, Washington mission was to teach them the basic like proper hygiene and practical knowledge. “Aside from this, we wanted to give them such a practical knowledge of some one industry, together with the spirit of industry, thrift, and economy, that they would be sure of knowing how to make a living after they had left us.

We wanted to teach them to study actual things instead of mere books alone. ” (Washington, p. 61) He wanted his students to be able to do things and know how to do them. With hard work and dedication, Washington and his students build the foundations of Tuskegee building. Because he wants his students to return to his or her farming jobs they had, his next mission was to train the students in agricultural techniques. Consequently, his students began to apply this knowledge and new ideas to their work.

Washington needed his students to understand the knowledge given to them and learn how to apply it in the real world. Industrial education was the way out of inequality. It shaped them to value hard work and dedication. Tuskegee gave the African-Americans the foundation of being economically stable by teaching them with hard work you can accomplish anything. Washington added that if you teach his race how to contribute in their communities, the southern whites would soon or later treat them with dignity and respect. In this address I said that the whole future of the Negro rested largely upon the question as to whether or not he should make himself, through his skill, intelligence, and character, of such undeniable value to the community in which he lived that the community could not dispense with his presence.

I said that any individual who learned to do something better than anybody else – learned to do a common thing in an uncommon manner – had solved his problem, regardless of the colour of his skin, and that in proportion as the Negro learned to produce what other people wanted and must have, in the same proportion would he be respected. (Washington, p. 98) Everyone must be willing to help each other, in order to rise as a community. Once they contribute to their community, people are becoming more accepting of them. For example, Washington became well known in his community and around the south that people began to treat him with respect. Thus, Washington firmly believe that a slow equality would help his race become economically stable granting them their rights.

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