Douglass’ views were clearly articulated, especially as the death knell of slavery was sounded, ("Slavery is not abolished until the black man has the ballot.")[2] and contrasts with Washington’s acquiescence to sacrifice political empowerment for white support of education and economic development. Douglass’ assessment of the 13th Amendment presaged the nadir which would follow the end of radical Reconstruction and, perhaps, made the success of a Washington possible.  He said, "The very fact that the Negro has been used to defeat this rebellion and stare down the standards of the Confederacy will be a stimulus to all their hatred, to all their malice, and lead them to legislate with greater stringency towards this class than ever before."[3]  Moreover, [slavery] "has been called by a great many names, and it will call itself by yet another name, and you and I and all of us had better wait and see what new form this old monster will assume, and in what new skin this old snake will come forth."[4]  African Americans encountered Black Codes, share cropping, lynching, discrimination, and the denial of constitutional rights for the next century.

     Washington [1856-1915] was the founder in 1881 of Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute in Alabama.  Tuskegee was based on the educational principles of Hampton Institute in Virginia, which he attended and where he taught.   Washington is generally considered an accommodationist who opposed efforts towards African American progress which espoused equality in civil rights.   His championing and promotion of industrial education rather than academic education was the expression of his view that this was the better route to economic independence for Blacks, because of the nature of the system of sharecropping.  It was necessary to Washington for Blacks to develop primarily those skills which would support their economic survival.   During the height of his career, Washington greatly influenced political patronage and government and private funding from white conservatives.  Tuskegee, for instance, was financed partly by the state of Alabama, but largely by white industrialists and bankers such as Andrew Carnegie, Julius Rosenwald and Collis P. Huntington.  Tuskegee and Washington’s approach differed from that of the Niagara Movement at the turn of the 20th century, which was seemingly as equalitarian in its philosophy of race relations as Tuskegee was paternal. 

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August 1999