January 18, 1996 Exhibit on Booker T Washington's "Atlanta Compromise" Opens
Contact: Helen Dalrymple (202) 707-1940
An exhibit focusing on Booker T. Washington's most controversial speech -- and the one that brought him to national fame -- opens Friday, January 19, at the Library of Congress.
The exhibit will remain on display through February 29 in the Current Events Gallery on the first floor, green core, of the Madison Building.
Funded by Tuskegee University, "Booker T. Washington's Atlanta Exposition Address Revisited" draws almost all of its content from the Library's Washington Collection, which was donated to the Manuscript Division by Tuskegee in 1943. Tuskegee also contributed items from its own collection of Washington's papers and memorabilia.
Dubbed the "Atlanta Compromise," the speech brought Washington to national prominence in 1895 as a powerful spokesman on race relations. Washington called for the races to work together to rebuild the South and to "blot out sectional differences and racial animosities." The speech contained one of his most memorable statements: "In all things that are purely social we can be as separate as the fingers yet one as the hand in all things essential to mutual progress."
Benjamin F. Payton, president of Tuskegee, said, "It is a source of great pride to Tuskegee University that the Washington Collection in the Library of Congress was among the first of outstanding African-Americans' papers to be brought into the national library collections and, to this day, remains one of the largest."