Why Education Matters To The Black Folks Essay Example
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IN ESTABLISHING THEIR INDIVIDUAL WORTH
Booker T. Washington should know the great importance of education because he was almost deprived of it at his young age. If not for his persistence and determination, he would have never made it to being a successful public speaker. If not for his courage to brave racism and all the difficulties it brought them, he would have ended straining his self in coal mine like his brothers. But Booker T. Washington dreamt a good dream; an ambitious but a very good dream. Thus, when he reached the peak of his success and secured a good reputation for his name, he strove harder to help his own people. Booker T. Washington should know the necessity of education because it was education that raised him up from that nobody boy he had been.
In his book Up From Slavery, Washington (1901) said, “To some it seemed that, now that they were in actual possession of it, freedom was a more serious thing than they had expected to find it” (p. 23). Booker T. Washington was born in slavery but his generation was the last to experience such kind of life because the long-awaited freedom came to them under the Emancipation Proclamation. From slavery to freedom, Booker T. Washington witnessed the transition of lifestyle from being forced into labour to seeking the labour. When they were freed from bondage, they were enslaved by uncertainties in return; the uncertainty of income and sources for living. So his people were still bonded into hard labour with less expertise on other crafts aside from farming and agriculture. They were freed yet they were enslaved by poverty.
Booker T. Washington had seen it and he strove hard to make a difference. His yearning for education brought him to Hamptom Institute where he painstakingly survived his study as a working student. When he finished school, he paved the way towards the better education and brighter future of his race. He helped them get a better access to education through local schools and institution for higher education, which he co-founded and co-operated. However, all of it would not have been made possible if not for the strong connections that Booker T. Washington established with wealthy philanthropist, mostly liberal white people. He cooperated and built a good relationship with them. In return, he earned assistance in raising funds for his community school projects. To maintain this relationship, Booker T. Washington opposed the idea of actively protesting the Jim Crow and disfranchisement of black voters in the South. He was heavily criticized for this, especially by W.E.B Du Bois who felt the strong needs to protest against the white government. Booker T. Washington on the other hand, had opted to look at it on the brighter and peace-promoting side. Provoking the people and enforcing a confrontation would only create a wider gap between the white and the black; not to mention the fact that they were outnumbered. They got less chance of winning should they pushed through with the protest. The road to better life was so close yet so far; they might have gained some positions then but it wasn’t all enough to radically confront the Jim Crow discriminatory law. His critics were quite afraid that this cooperation with the white people would only bring back the black race to slavery of different form. But Booker T. Washington believed otherwise. His main priority for his people was education because this would give them what they needed most: individual worth. Washington (1901) stated, “. . . mere connection with what is known as a superior race will not permanently carry an individual forward unless he has individual worth, and mere connection with what is regarded as an inferior race will not finally hold an individual back if he possesses intrinsic, individual merit” (p. 33-34).
Booker T. Washington had paved the way for his people’s progress through the greater development of quality education. He had inspired them to work harder and be self-supporting, thus they could earn respect from the other races. To depend their life’s status to the consent of the superior race would only bring them nowhere but with education as a powerful tool, they could convince the white people that they were worthy of respect as people of the nation.
Washington, Booker T. (1901). Up from Slavery. Garden City, New York: Doubleday &
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