Today in labor history: Tuskegee Institute opened

Today in 1881 Booker T. Washington opened Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. The school focused at least officially on industrial and agricultural education in keeping with Washington’s pedagogy and philosophy. W.E.B. Du Bois, however, in a famous debate initiated in the Souls of Black Folk in 1903 claimed the school actually taught menial skills and avoided higher learning. Washington, an accomodationist,  was a darling of the business elite of the time and endorsed segregation in an infamous address at the Atlanta Cotton Exposition, where he said, “We can be a separate as the fingers yet one as the hand in all things beneficial to mutual progress.” After Washington death, Tuskegee while maintaining its founding mission moved slowy away from Washington’s orientation.

Photo; Wkikpedia Booker T. Washington with Andrew Carnegie