Analytical Essay On The Atlanta Compromise Address
Booker T. Washington is one of the most respected and influential African American figures in American history, Mr. Washington was born into slavery and was freed by the Emancipation Proclamation. His peaceful personality along with his exceptional education in many different studies turned him into a well-rounded individual. Washington wanted blacks and whites to become partners and strive for both races to succeed. He delivered his most famous speech in 1895 known as the “Atlanta Compromise”. In Atlanta Georgia, Mr. Washington expresses himself with exceptional rhetoric and tone throughout his speech. He states that African Americans should take benefit of what they know and endeavor to excel in their professions of choice. He also argues that whites should open up their eyes and see that Blacks are their “Family” who are willing to work together and do business in order for both races to prosper. Washington’s public speaking skills with his good use of rhetoric and tone including his metaphors made The Atlanta Compromise one of the most powerful and impacting speeches in our countries history.
Washington used nice rhetoric throughout his entire address starting from the first sentence he tried to get his point across by saying “One-third of the population of the South is of the Negro race.” He was trying to convince his audience that they will have to get along and work with the Negro race to prosper and create a good life for both races. There is a serious tone in Washington’s writing. He is buttering up his audience so that they will actually listen to what he has to say instead of ignoring it. Understanding the time period many whites in the South weren’t too fond of African Americans in general still. Later in the speech, Mr. Washington says “It is recognition that will do more to cement the friendship of the two races than any occurrence since the dawn of our freedom.” He is saying that the only people that have been there for the blacks have been the whites even if they were the ones that had slaves at one point. He is saying that this history together even though it was tough it still made a relationship between the two races. Like how the slaves would often take care of their family and kids even if the slaves were forced to do it they still had a bond with the person they cared for. Washington also brings up that there is no job in our country that is more important than the other. He tries to portray that we as a nation all do our part to sustain a unified union and nice country. His strategy was to get his hypercritical audience’s attention so he could actually speak and they listen to him.
Dr. Washington use the story as an metaphor regarding how someone can miss an answer to a major problem when it is right in front of them. He was not referring to African Americans returning to Africa, or looking for a recovering life in another country. He was stating the North becoming like a foreign land, and the South as being our home that was ready to succeed higher than the North. He infers that many people had suffered in the South, first in slavery, and once again to the introduction of Jim Crow laws. I believe he was saying that these people have had enough. He believed that the plenty of land and need for the industrial and farming products of the South presented the promise of wealth and true power to the ex-slaves and whites as a whole. Washington is not saying that African Americans should downgrade themselves to doing menial work, or chose to endure to be lower class. He is saying that basic foundational work for a pay is the building block for future advancement of a great nation if black and whites come together. Mr. Washington was prophetic in expressing that “No race can prosper till it learns that there is as much dignity in tilling a field as in writing a poem.” He is trying to say we must learn what is truthfully important. He is trying to say that Riches can be stolen or lost, but only true wealth continues from generation to generation. He explains that a foundation must be established and that it begins at the bottom, not at the top. If the country seeks to be at the top right now that they will learn nothing and not remain there for long. He is saying a strong and successful nation or race learns how to build a good foundation understanding that it is up our next generations to understand what their responsibilities are to whatever they obtain.
Booker T. Washington’s Atlanta Compromise Address is one of the most truthful and powerful speeches of our countries history. Although it was very short it was so powerful because of his great tone and rhetoric. His explained himself so well saying that African Americans shouldn’t try things they didn’t know how to do. They needed to learn the skills and that those skills would take time. They needed to stick to what they knew and build upon it so that their posterity may prosper. He also mentioned that whites need to change with adversity and accept what was happening at this time and try to work with the blacks instead of being stubborn and not. They needed to accept that blacks were defiantly like family when they were slaves. If both races overcame what they faced the country would become better and be a success.