Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Uncle Tom or New Negro

Can't seem to shake this notion of an "Uncle Tom." I came across this review of a collection of essays entitled Uncle Tom or New Negro: African Americans Reflect on Booker T. Washington and 100 Years Later at the American Heritage website. I remember enjoying Up From Slavery very much the first time I read it years ago, as I thought it was incredible the way Washington was able to build a school at Tuskegee literally from the ground up with the students making their own bricks because of the high price charged by local contractors. Quite a metaphor in that one.


  1. Also interesting. Maybe a subscription to the new/old American Heritage is in order, too.

    His metaphor about the fingers and the hand actually remind me of Lincoln's words.

  2. Washington's accomplishments were incredible, but he lost the PR war. Doubt he can ever be rehabilitated.

  3. That he was able to get money for Tuskegee college was a major feat (not fete as I first spelled it -- although I'm sure it was that, too). And those HBCUs have endured and prospered -- I would assume that's a tribute to him.

  4. Here is a very thoughtful, and I might add guarded, critique of Booker T. Washington by W.E.B. DuBois,

    It would seem that DuBois viewed Washington as an "Old Negro."