"A fresh reassessment of one of the most powerful black men in American history. This book will help reshape the prism through which the life, work, strategy, and contributions of Booker T. Washington are examined."--David H. Jackson Jr., author of A Chief Lieutenant of the Tuskegee Machine
"Although scholars and lay persons alike most often think of Washington as an educator, this impressive text reveals that his business ideas and practices have had a much greater and longer impact on Americans, especially African Americans."--Kenneth Hamilton, Southern Methodist University
Michael Boston offers a radical departure from other interpretations of Booker T. Washington by focusing on the latterâ€™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.
Michael B. Boston is assistant professor at Brockport State College.
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" Boston (Brockport State College) argues that recent historical work on Booker T. Washington, which paints a portrait of an accomodationist Uncle Tom, is sharply contradicted by an examination of primary sources. He convincingly argues that Washington had a shrewd grasp of the unholy political forces, cultural antipathies, and lynch mobs arrayed against blacks in the Deep South between the Civil War and WWI, and he carefully explains Washington's ideas and the key influences that molded them." Choice, vol. 48 n4
Drawing on collections, interviews, letters, probate court records, and other primary sources in the main repository of Washington papers at the Library of Congress, as well as little-utilized sources at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and the Tuskegee University Archives, Bostonweaves a narrative that emphasizes the need to take into account the forces of racism and reaction that Washington encountered during slavery, Reconstruction, and the nadir. The Journal of American History
"A solid work that explores Washington's business philosophy and demonstrates that he pushed both practical education and self-improvement among African Americans as components of a conscious and well-developed business philosophy." American Historical Review
"Unmatched in its boldness, brialliance, and brevity."
"Solidly researched and splendidly argued." The Journal of Southern History Volume LXXVII, No. 4
"Creatively reexamines Washington's writings and speeches, focusing on his entrepreneurial spirit, to bring us a business-minded Washington." The Journal of African American History