Booker T. Washington by Louis R Harlan

Critical review of biography of conservative black leader’s role in politics & race relations from 1901 to 1915.

Louis R. Harlan (1983). Booker T. Washington: The Wizard of Tuskegee, 1901-1915. New York: Oxford University.
Time has not dealt kindly with Booker T. Washington. At the beginning of this century he was perhaps the most famous black man in the world. Certainly he was by far the most influential in American public life. In 1901 he was the first African-American to be invited to dinner at the White House, by Theodore Roosevelt an act that provoked intense controversy at the time (pp. 3-4). Today, little more is remembered of him than his name, and a hazy association with the Tuskegee Institute. That there was once a Tuskegee Machine with nationwide influence in the Republican Party has been quite forgotten.

The decline of Booker T. Washington’s public reputation is largely due to the evolution of racial politics and consciousness…