The Booker T Washington Society e-Newsletter                                 October   2008

NOTE: As chickens come home to roost in our economy, millions of us will be forced to bear a burden caused by others. You can blame 'bad policy decisions' and 'lack of controlling legal authority,' but the root cause lies in the character - or lack thereof -     of the leading 'players.'      Shame on them.

A Recognition Long Overdue...

    For decades, many who knew better treated the achievements and character of a great historical figure, Booker T. Washington with disdain. Yet his legacy, the lessons he taught, and their continuing relevance for all Americans live on.

    It is high time to recognize and appreciate Booker T. Washington as a great American - without hyphenation as "African-" or limitation as "black."

    The willful distorters of his historical record must share responsibility for the consequences - albeit unintended - that are so painfully evident throughout vast segments of our youth culture today. Booker T's inspiring, uplifting, character-building message was 'dissed, while feeding hundreds of thousands of our youths the angry, dispiriting "lessons" of victimhood and alienation.

    For many of today's young people, self-respecting pride in being black has morphed into self-defeating resentment against 'acting white.' This is insanity.

     We commit ourselves to join those outspoken souls who came before us to say, "Enough." Please join us. Help preserve and promote the legacy of Booker T. Washington, especially among the youths of our country. Help us fulfill our responsibility to develop students and leaders of good character and integrity.


Sincerely,

Ronald Court, President,

Learn more about BTW and the Society's efforts by clicking the links below.

    Introducing...
BTW head shot

    A Great American       He rose Up From Slavery to inspire millions as a great educator, statesman, philosopher and orator.   He understood that without character, education and opportunity don't count for much ... Read More...

    In His Own Words... by Booker T. Washington
    "On Democracy and Education" - speech delivered September 30, 1896
        (The Institute of Arts & Sciences, Brooklyn, NY)

    "It is said that the strongest chain is no stronger than its weakest link. In the Southern part of our country there are twenty-two millions of your brethren who are bound to you by ties which you cannot tear asunder if you would. The most intelligent man in your community has his intelligence darkened by the ignorance ... Read More...

    Let's Get It Right

    Some folks still cling to a belief (if they know anything of him) that Booker T. Washington "sold-out" to segregationists and disenfranchisors to obtain money and power from wealthy whites. Not so... Read More...

    Did You Know...

    That "Lift Every Voice & Sing" (a/k/a the Negro National Anthem) was written in anticipation of Booker T. Washington's visit to the Jacksonville, FL school, where the author, James Weldon Johnson, was principal? ... Read More...

    Commentary by Reggie Jones

    Here We Go Again      Rick Warren, pastor of California's Saddleback mega-Church, asked Barak Obama which US Supreme Court Justice was his least favorite. The senator unhesitatingly replied, "Clarence Thomas." It appeared to me as if ... Read More...

    Commentary by Ron Court

    Sticks & Stones      A lot of people get upset over the "n--" word. Understandable, for it is truly a reprehensible word. In recent years, the notoriety heaped on those who utter that taboo word reminded me of a response taught to me as a child. "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words... Read More...

The Booker T. Washington Society, 13 Wrisley Court, Essex Junction, VT 05452 - ph: 802-878-3911; email: info@BTWsociety.org

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Summer, 2008

Booker T. Washington - A Great American

He grew Up From Slavery to become a famous educator, statesman, philosopher and orator.
His message of hope and opportunity inspired millions.
He understood better than most, that, without character -- education and opportunity don't count for much.
He was a visionary. He saw an America that could and would move beyond segregation.
He lived a life of purpose, dedicated to moving generations of Americans -- young and old -- to become economically independent through hard work, personal responsibility and service to one another.

He was ahead of his time

Decades before the first 4-H Club, Booker T. frequently and famously referred to the Head, Hands & Heart... (and preached as well, the 4th "H" (Health) as cleanliness).
In 1941, celebrated Harlem Renaissance poet, Langston Hughes, honored the work and vision of BTW with a poem:
So, being a far-seeing
Practical man,
He said, train your head,
Your heart,
and your hand.

(Click for the entire Ballad of Booker T)


Setting the Record Straight

Some folks continue to believe that Booker T. Washington accepted segregation and disenfranchisement in return for appealing to wealthy whites for money and power.
Not so.
In 1900, Dr. Washington secretly raised money and put up a needed balance from his personal funds to challenge the constitutionality of the 'grandfather clause' in Louisiana's state constitution.
This clause extended the franchise to illiterate voters whose grandfathers had been qualified to vote, but which effectively excluded Blacks.
Booker T. also covertly funded legal challenges against discrimination in Alabama's voter registration practices in 1903 and 1904. (Giles v Harris and Giles v Teasley)


Did you know...

...the words to "Lift Every Voice & Sing", sometimes referred to as the Negro National Anthem, were first penned as a poem by James Weldon Johnson?
At the time, he was an elementary school principal in Jacksonville, Florida.
Principal Johnson chose to honor Booker T. Washington on the occasion of the great orator's visit to Jacksonville to speak at its Lincoln's Birthday celebration by writing the poem. He first recited the poem on Feb. 12, 1900 upon rising to introduce Washington.


And do you know why...

our founding Constitution counted slaves as "3/5th of a man"?
Representatives to the new Congress from each state were to be allocated according to the population of each state.
So delegates from the slave states in the South tried to include slaves in their population count to boost their numbers and thus, their representation in the new Congress.
Northern free state delegates objected because it would have tilted representation heavily in favor of the pro-slavery South.
Thus, inserting the clause to designate a slave as '3/5th of a man' was a hard-fought "win" by abolitionists -- hoping to hasten the day when all slaves would be freed. It served to reduce the number -- thus the power and influence -- of South pro-slavery legislators.


About Us

We show young people how to be a "CEO" ... to control their own
Character, Education & Opportunity
Our motto, I CHOOSE highlights the two sides to every choice:
Freedom - || - Responsibility.

Our motto also leads into "Booker T's Oath" and the seven CharacterPower values:
Integrity

Commitment
Hard Work
Ownership
Organization
Service
Education

What we do

The BTW Society honors the legacy of Dr. Washington by passing on his philosophy with workshops, panel discussions, a books-to-school program and scholarships awarded to 'BTW Ambassadors' -- deserving students to pursue their post-HS education in science, technology, math, engineering, business or vocational training.

Beginning this Fall, the Booker T Washington Society will host CharacterPower workshops in community centers, high schools and churches around the country.
Please join the Society and help bring Dr. Washington's inspiring messages and philosophy to young people.