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Chapters 1-3: Up From Slavery 
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 Chapters 1-3: Up From Slavery
Chapters 1-3: Up From Slavery


Please use this thread for discussing Chapters 1-3: Up From Slavery.



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Post Re: Chapters 1-3: Up From Slavery
I picked up a free pdf of this book at pink monkey, and will comment on some of the surprising points in it.
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the ten million Negroes inhabiting this country, who themselves or whose ancestors went through the school of American slavery, are in a stronger and more hopeful condition, materially, intellectually, morally, and religiously, than is true of an equal number of black people in any other portion of the globe. This I say, not to justify slavery- on the other hand, I condemn it as an institution, as we all know that in America it was established for selfish and financial reasons, and not from a missionary motive but to call attention to a fact, and to show how Providence so often uses men and institutions to accomplish a purpose.


Hindsight is so very different from foresight. When people are engaged in something new and unprecedented, such as the settlement of America, their actions tend to be bounded more by what is possible and practical than by what is good and moral. Since there is nothing to stop exploitation, exploitation will happen. Only when the consequences of an evil practice become apparent does a social regulation arise to extirpate it. Such was the case for slavery.

Booker T’s comment here is that the blacks of the USA are obviously much better off than the blacks of Africa. Black Americans https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_e ... me#By_race have a median annual household income of $37,000, while in Sub Saharan Africa, the per capita average income is below $2000 per year. http://data.worldbank.org/region/SSA On the whole, the institutional framework of the USA has enabled African Americans to prosper, despite the ongoing racism and deprivation.

Just as a general comment, one of the dog whistle signals sent by fundamentalists who swear by the Ten Commandments is that the most important commandment is God’s endorsement of slavery, with the injunction not to covet thy neighbor’s slave. By this mentality, a “neighbor” is a man who owns property, and all other people are his possessions.

Aristotle said in The Politics slavery would exist until the looms could run themselves http://eugesta.recherche.univ-lille3.fr ... 2_2012.pdf The industrial revolution partially proved this true as far as the grand institution of the antebellum was concerned. But slavery is hardly gone with the wind. There are more slaves alive today than ever before. http://www.freetheslaves.net/about-slav ... ery-today/

Quote:
The hurtful influences of the institution were not by any means confined to the Negro. This was fully illustrated by the life upon our own plantation. The whole machinery of slavery was so constructed as to cause labour, as a rule, to be looked upon as a badge of degradation, of inferiority. Hence labour was something that both races on the slave plantation sought to escape. The slave system on our place, in a large measure, took the spirit of self-reliance and self-help out of the white people.


Another really interesting observation. The aristocratic status of slave owners produced a distortion of values regarding work. But I think there is another side to this, namely that it is a fact that the work of ideas is inherently more valuable than manual labour.


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Last edited by Robert Tulip on Thu Apr 07, 2016 6:39 am, edited 1 time in total.



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Post Re: Chapters 1-3: Up From Slavery
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Few people who were not right in the midst of the scenes can form any exact idea of the intense desire which the people of my race showed for an education. As I have stated, it was a whole race trying to go to school. Few were too young, and none too old, to make the attempt to learn.

For American slaves, the power of writing was a real tangible force that enabled their subjugation and also enabled white wealth. This visibility of education spurred the desire to share in it. By contrast in Africa, the valuing of education is still much lower, perhaps due to the absence of a whole social stratum which demonstrates the power of learning as exists with the whites of the USA.

The yearning for learning among ex-slaves may indicate idealism about the potential for social transformation. It will be interesting to see how Booker T explores the tensions that crept into this early optimism.


http://thisisafrica.me/who-taught-you-t ... dark-skin/ discusses from an African perspective the problems arising from the pervasive idea that lighter is better (particularly if it comes with European, rather than African, features). This fits the political metaphysics of colonialism whereby “Part of the process of creating a European empire was to define the European self in contrast to everyone else. How could you justify dominating and enslaving other people if you didn’t tell yourself you were better in every way?”


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Post Re: Chapters 1-3: Up From Slavery
Project Gutenberg has a version of "Up From Slavery" as well.

I enjoy reading histories. So far, chapters 1 through 3 have been pretty good. (IMO) I always enjoy stories of perseverance, determination and hard work. Booker, like many others, demonstrates the value of self-determination.

I am reading UFS as a companion to Ken Stamps' "The Peculiar Institution" . I'm not so much interested in the degradation and cruelties of slavery as much as how the hole damn mess came to be in the first place. Its like the colonist's made the whole thing up as they went along, The invention of racism along side regulation and defining what slavery was to be. The Birth of the USA and slavery were conjoined. Booker T seems to have recognized this and held little in the way of a public grudge.

The constitution of the U.S. put no obstacles in the path of slavery, allowing it to be a matter for individual states to regulate, The citizens of those states took full advantage.

One disturbing fact is states being added to the union, it was done in pairs, one where slavery was legal and one where it was not, this was done so that no side gained an advantage over the other. California when added to the union was required to send one senator who was pro-slavery and one who was against.



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Post Re: Chapters 1-3: Up From Slavery
Very interesting posts. Thanks guys



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Post Re: Chapters 1-3: Up From Slavery
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The very fact that the white boy is conscious that, if he fails in life, he will disgrace the whole family record, extending back through many generations, is of tremendous value in helping him to resist temptations. The fact that the individual has behind and surrounding him proud family history and connection serves as a stimulus to help him to overcome obstacles when striving for success.
In this comment from Chapter 2, Booker T illustrates his respect for conservative tradition, and seems to indicate his dismay at how delinquency and family destruction serve to undermine black advancement. It remains a relevant story today, with the capacity to hold a family together under even greater strain, and relatively few having the type of family heritage and pride and connection and stability that Booker so admires.

A big part of this conservative framework is the role of men, serving as sources of advice and role models for boys. For only if the father takes the time and effort and has the vision to explain to his son what he has learned about family heritage and good values will these stories be kept alive. Personal example is a key.

This sort of opinion is why Booker T is reviled among the left, for his refutation of their opinions denigrating the importance of family values. For left wing opinion, i his plain morality of respect and hard work even in difficult circumstances serves as the source of real progress, built upon tradition.

With the idea of progress now largely captured by social justice warriors who deprecate the role of the family and see an ever larger role for state functionaries as the source of wisdom, this line about pride in historical identity, as something whites have more than blacks in his opinion, helps to put detail into the often vague concept of family values.

The traumatic destruction of identity involved in slavery has been a massive source of delinquency, crime, resentment, confusion and incoherence in American society. Booker is arguing that blacks can rise above this conditioning of social destiny. Pride is not restricted to the wealthy, and is not helped by bitterness at one’s social station.

He was well aware that many blacks saw mobilizing the power of the state as the only way to redress the social imbalance of structural injustice that keeps them poor. But while eager to maintain a policy dialogue with governments, this comment suggests he came from a very different view on the relative importance of state and society, seeing the institution of the family as central to civil progress, in view of the personal care and attention that parents of both sexes must provide to give their children the best chance of success in the world. He rose above his fatherless illiterate chattelhood to become free, and suggests this hard path is one that others can benefit from too, rather than the talismanic invocation of social justice as a secular political religion.

The moral theme he mentions of resistance of temptation is about the virtue of self control and ability to delay gratification. This ability has been identified in longitudinal social studies as a key determinant in success in life. Patience, discipline, diligence, vision, planning, respect; all these moral values require active nurture and cultivation and are not present simply by genetic endowment.

It is the social order of white society that Booker admires, despite its great flaws such as the damage slavery does to the owners. This focus on values illustrates why redistribution alone will not create an equal society, which instead requires conversation about the factors causing delinquency and how they can be overcome.

Further, this moral value of pride and discipline explained here by Booker T as a foundation for white success may help to provide some coherence for the mess of conservative religion, which in fact is primarily focused on the patriarchal order of social control, based on the opinion that old rich men are the wisest leaders of civil society. If conservative religion uses God the Father as a concealed allegory for male power in family and society, the inability to mesh the story of God the Father with any objective scientific narrative is a major blow to the enduring influence of the values that the old myth supports.

The confusion caused by the failure of patriarchs to exercise that role effectively has opened up advocacy of a wild variety of social models within a widespread cultural relativist ethic of each to their own. I personally support gender and racial equality, with the great caution that these ethical principles are best advanced in a respectful dialogue with conservatives.


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Post Re: Chapters 1-3: Up From Slavery
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There was never a time in my youth, no matter how dark and discouraging the days might be, when one resolve did not continually remain with me, and that was a determination to secure an education at any cost.

Here Booker T suggests that character is key to his success. His determination to secure an education at any cost is an attitude of personal will, based on vision, drive and discipline. Here again Booker T opens the suggestion that black advancement should look to personal values, the ability of formerly destitute people to rise, adapt, integrate and assimilate into the broader society, as a prerequisite to enable equality and social change.

It is very true that his circumstances were dark and discouraging. Lynch mobs, overt racial discrimination by governments, traumatised communities, against all this he set his strength of personal character and will as the only thing that could overcome his difficulties and begin to transform the society.


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Post Re: Chapters 1-3: Up From Slavery
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I used to try to picture in my imagination the feelings and ambitions of a white boy with absolutely no limit placed upon his aspirations and activities. I used to envy the white boy who had no obstacles placed in the way of his becoming a Congressman, Governor, Bishop, or President by reason of the accident of his birth or race.
This theme of visualization is a key topic in self help. This idea of the centrality of picturing our aspirations in our imagination emerged in older books such as The Power of Positive Thinking, The Magic of Thinking Big and Neuro Linguistic Programming, The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People and a recent book I like, Gorilla Mindset. Neuro-linguistic programming claims the connection between neural processes, language and behavioral patterns learned through experience can be changed to achieve specific goals in life, including the point Booker T makes, to model the skills of exceptional people. This is a defiant statement against fate, against the idea that environment is destiny, instead saying we can create our world through power of will by visualising how we can realize our dreams.


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Post Re: Chapters 1-3: Up From Slavery
Booker T Washington wrote:
out of the hard and unusual struggle through which he is compelled to pass, he gets a strength, a confidence, that one misses whose pathway is comparatively smooth by reason of birth and race.
This theme of how difficulties produce strength of character is complicated. There are many instances where hard struggle does not produce strength and confidence, but rather produces deference, trauma, hesitancy and ignorance among people broken and bowed down by oppression. But even so, the theme of triumph through adversity is a good one, with the toughness of poverty producing a discipline and drive that does not exist among the soft.

Booker T’s comment reminds me of Saint Paul’s statement in Romans 5 explaining his concept of justification by faith, that we glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance produces character, character produces hope, and hope does not fail us. Paul is expressing something like a theory of dynastic cycle, where an established corrupt culture is overthrown by a dynamic moral culture.

There is a ‘no pain no gain’ philosophy here, reflecting on how riches are often squandered by the grandchildren. Giving people the luxuries of wealth makes them soft and lazy and indifferent, prone to conquest by others who are hard and diligent and organised. That is why competition is like a refiner's fire.

There is a Christian authenticity in Booker T’s sense that the strongest morality is found among people who are at the margins of the society. As Jesus put it, the stone that the builder refused will become the head of the corner.


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Post Re: Chapters 1-3: Up From Slavery
Booker T Washington wrote:
mere connection with what is known as a superior race will not permanently carry an individual forward unless he has individual worth, and mere connection with what is regarded as an inferior race will not finally hold an individual back if he possesses intrinsic, individual merit. Every persecuted individual and race should get much consolation out of the great human law, which is universal and eternal, that merit, no matter under what skin found, is, in the long run, recognized and rewarded.
This open discussion of attitudes about superior and inferior races is placed here against a ringing statement of faith in the high principle of the victory of merit. The problem with Booker T’s faith in long run merit is that in the interim, racial prejudice is highly destructive of the capacity and opportunity for nurturing and cultivating merit.

People of suppressed races can internalize a sense of inferiority, with self-talk that produces a damaging negative belief in their personal potential and worth, as a result of being constantly told that they are rubbish and hopeless, as well as the destructive social conditions of poverty. As a result, their ability to acquire the meritorious values that Booker T promoted, of work, education, respect and property investment, can be severely diminished.

It is a good question what Booker T means by seeing individual merit as intrinsic. For example, a person who has talent will often lose out to a person who has persistence, and even more so if the persistent person has a better social support network. Intrinsic merit has many factors. Some of the most successful societies in the world are meritocratic, with Singapore a good example. Singapore does have many leading Indians and Malays, but there is also a tendency to see Chinese as having most merit, due to their cultural values of education and discipline.

When a culture is delinquent, with foetal alcohol syndrome, widespread imprisonment, violence, failure of fatherhood, etc, the ability to acquire merit is diminished. That is the situation for many Aboriginal Australians, who have some shared factors of historical traumatization with American slaves and indigenes.

In 2009, 4.7% of adult black American men were incarcerated, nearly seven times the 0.7% rate of whites. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_St ... ation_rate

Intrinsic merit is enhanced by mentoring from successful role models, but this is often difficult to arrange when people are in a struggle to survive or lack a clear sense of values.


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Post Re: Chapters 1-3: Up From Slavery
Robert, you're a machine. I haven't read all the posts, but will. How is this for Jared Diamond-style reduction: the history of slavery is the history of two crops that enabled the U.S. to survive and prosper: tobacco and cotton.



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Post Re: Chapters 1-3: Up From Slavery
Quote:
the ten million Negroes inhabiting this country, who themselves or whose ancestors went through the school of American slavery, are in a stronger and more hopeful condition, materially, intellectually, morally, and religiously, than is true of an equal number of black people in any other portion of the globe. This I say, not to justify slavery- on the other hand, I condemn it as an institution, as we all know that in America it was established for selfish and financial reasons, and not from a missionary motive but to call attention to a fact, and to show how Providence so often uses men and institutions to accomplish a purpose.

This must be the type of statement that so dismayed later later crusaders for black equality. Perhaps Washington is trying to build up his fellow black Americans. The statement doesn't stand up to scrutiny. For one thing, when slavery was terminated, it should have been obvious that the institution had had no such fortifying effect as Washington sites, as though Washington is comparing blacks to the mythical Israelites emerging from captivity in Egypt as a stronger group ready for nationhood. Later history was, of course, to make clear the degrading effects of slavery were persistent even to the present day. Perhaps if free blacks in the North are included, Washington is right about blacks being better off in the U.S. than elsewhere, but this is only because they happened to live in the country gaining most rapidly in wealth of any in the world. Slavery had nothing to do with any supposed benefit accruing to blacks--an outrageous assertion, really. That God directed it for a moral purpose is yet more so.
Quote:
Booker T’s comment here is that the blacks of the USA are obviously much better off than the blacks of Africa. Black Americans https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_e ... me#By_race have a median annual household income of $37,000, while in Sub Saharan Africa, the per capita average income is below $2000 per year. http://data.worldbank.org/region/SSA On the whole, the institutional framework of the USA has enabled African Americans to prosper, despite the ongoing racism and deprivation.

And this annual income is how much lower than that of white Americans? What relevance is there in the higher income of American blacks compared to citizens of other countries with the same skin color?
Quote:
Aristotle said in The Politics slavery would exist until the looms could run themselves http://eugesta.recherche.univ-lille3.fr ... 2_2012.pdf The industrial revolution partially proved this true as far as the grand institution of the antebellum was concerned. But slavery is hardly gone with the wind. There are more slaves alive today than ever before. http://www.freetheslaves.net/about-slav ... ery-today/[quote/]
True, but with U.S. slavery we're talking about 20% of the population as enslaved at the start of the Civil War. And the complete institutional backing that the system had makes it quite a different animal than exists today.
Quote:
Another really interesting observation. The aristocratic status of slave owners produced a distortion of values regarding work. But I think there is another side to this, namely that it is a fact that the work of ideas is inherently more valuable than manual labour.
[/quote]
Well, but what ideas were the aristocratic slave owners working out? I can't see any that lay claim to having more value than the work they extracted from their workforce.



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Post Re: Chapters 1-3: Up From Slavery
DWill wrote:
Quote:
the ten million Negroes inhabiting this country, who themselves or whose ancestors went through the school of American slavery, are in a stronger and more hopeful condition, materially, intellectually, morally, and religiously, than is true of an equal number of black people in any other portion of the globe. This I say, not to justify slavery- on the other hand, I condemn it as an institution, as we all know that in America it was established for selfish and financial reasons, and not from a missionary motive but to call attention to a fact, and to show how Providence so often uses men and institutions to accomplish a purpose.

This must be the type of statement that so dismayed later later crusaders for black equality.
The extraordinary thing here is that BTW appears to believe that blacks can best advance by learning from and copying white behavior and values. That idea is today so very politically incorrect as to be almost unthinkable.
DWill wrote:
Perhaps Washington is trying to build up his fellow black Americans.
Yes, and again this reminds me of Saint Paul, who said knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. There is an ethic here of love and forgiveness, so that instead of dwelling on resentment and bitterness, it is possible to set aside the wrongs of the past.
DWill wrote:
The statement doesn't stand up to scrutiny. For one thing, when slavery was terminated, it should have been obvious that the institution had had no such fortifying effect as Washington cites, as though Washington is comparing blacks to the mythical Israelites emerging from captivity in Egypt as a stronger group ready for nationhood.
Clearly Washington rejects any apologetic for slavery as such, but his point is that by enabling Africans to become part of American society, even through great suffering and poverty, they received the providential opportunity to eventually become the equals of white Americans. But such equality is not gained by anger and hatred, but through a peaceful and practical determination to take advantage of what America has to offer.
DWill wrote:
Later history was, of course, to make clear the degrading effects of slavery were persistent even to the present day.
There is an existential question here of whether we allow our circumstances to circumscribe our destiny. Obviously to a large extent that is inevitably the case, since cultural patterns are so entrenched. Few have the character to escape from degradation. But Washington argues the individual has the capacity to rise above their conditioning. This is a sensitive matter, since there is inevitably an element of blame directed towards those who do allow their situation to dictate their options.
DWill wrote:
Perhaps if free blacks in the North are included, Washington is right about blacks being better off in the U.S. than elsewhere, but this is only because they happened to live in the country gaining most rapidly in wealth of any in the world.
This “only because” is significant, allowing black Americans to live as free individuals rather than as tribal collectives. In tribal societies, individuals are forced to share their wealth widely, to such an extent that incentive for personal advancement is destroyed. America’s wealth is not accidental, but exists because of the enterprise of American people, its culture of liberty. Africa’s poverty is largely due to a failure to build a culture of free enterprise, with all the cultural and regulatory frameworks that enable capital growth. By taking people out of Africa and into America, enslavement served to enable the descendants of slaves to benefit from the opportunities of the American capitalist social system.
DWill wrote:
Slavery had nothing to do with any supposed benefit accruing to blacks--an outrageous assertion, really.
Only that without slavery, America’s blacks would not exist.
DWill wrote:
That God directed it for a moral purpose is yet more so.
The equation between Providence and God that you draw may seem clear, but it is also possible to consider providence as purely natural, as the framework of abundance and the cultural wherewithal and liberty to pursue a life of happiness which enabled the USA to become the leading nation of our planet. Providence is right there in the secular values of the Declaration of Independence, and requires no assumption of divinity despite that conventional association.
DWill wrote:
What relevance is there in the higher income of American blacks compared to citizens of other countries with the same skin color?
If it had not been for slavery, Africans would not have escaped from Africa to gain access to the opportunities of the USA. In the hypothetical thought experiment of a world without slavery, there would have been no process or incentive for black immigration to America. The opportunities available to today’s slave descendents simply would not exist, as they would be stuck in the numbing poverty and despair of Africa. The physical shackles of the middle passage eventually freed the descendants of slaves from the cultural shackles of Africa. If Africa wants development, it needs a culture of individual rights, good governance and entrepreneurial creativity.
DWill wrote:
what ideas were the aristocratic slave owners working out? I can't see any that lay claim to having more value than the work they extracted from their workforce.

That opens up the major economic problem of the theory of value. Slave owners were not paragons of capitalist ingenuity, but that failure of ideas is precisely why the slave economy was doomed. The broader dynamic of American history is that the ideas of industrialism were an unstoppable force. The south could not have won the Civil War, because its ideas were defective, resting on false assumptions of the rent value extracted from slave labor.

The creation of wealth involves much more than labor alone. Growth depends on systemic structures around property law, structures which are entirely conceptual in nature. A moderate level of effort in an excellent conceptual framework will generate more wealth than a lot of effort in a dysfunctional context.


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Post Re: Chapters 1-3: Up From Slavery
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Chapter 3. she wanted everything kept clean about her, that she wanted things done promptly and systematically, and that at the bottom of everything she wanted absolute honesty and frankness. Nothing must be sloven or slipshod; every door, every fence, must be kept in repair…the lessons that I learned in the home of Mrs. Ruffner were as valuable to me as any education I have ever gotten anywhere since.
My approach to this book is to read through the pdf on screen, and as I come across comments that I find really interesting, I copy them into a word document. Then I go back to the word document and use the extract as a basis for commentary.

With this comment, from Chapter 3, (By The Way, is BTW By The Way, Back To Work or Booker Taliaferro Washington?) BTW explains his fastidious almost puritanical attitude towards cleanliness and integrity. To present the Vermont Yankee Mrs Ruffner as a mentor, Washington extols her strictness, which was too severe for most of her employees. I can well imagine many blacks reading this book experiencing a sort of grim secret delight at Washington’s ability to express some home truths about admiration for the Vermont Yankee, ideas that could never be openly said in many cultural contexts where the emotional weight of anger at injustice would lead to anybody saying such things becoming a pariah. It is something of a paradox that Washington was seen as a leader by ordinary blacks but was bitterly resented by intellectuals.

The issue here is of strategic judgement regarding how to achieve results. The conciliation involved in Washington’s acceptance of segregation in return for jobs and education was based on a game plan, an expectation that the advancement through skills would later make political equality possible.
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http://www.pbs.org/wnet/jimcrow/stories ... ooker.html
Booker T. Washington was the most famous black man in America between 1895 and 1915. He was also considered the most influential black educator of the late 19th and early 20th centuries insofar as he controlled the flow of funds to black schools and colleges. He used his ability to win the trust of white Southerners and Northern philanthropists to make Tuskegee into a model school of industrial education. He reassured whites that nothing in his educational program challenged white supremacy or offered economic competition with whites. He accepted racial subordination as a necessary evil, at least until such time as blacks could prove themselves worthy of full civil and political rights. As far as blacks were concerned, Washington insisted that industrial education would enable them to lift themselves up by their bootstraps and escape the trap of sharecropping and debt.

In September 1895, Washington became a national hero. Invited to speak at the 1895 Cotton States and International Exposition in Atlanta, Washington publicly accepted disfranchisement and social segregation as long as whites would allow black economic progress, educational opportunity, and justice in the courts. "The wisest of my race understand that the agitation of questions of social equality is the extremest folly and that progress in the enjoyment of all the privileges that will come to us must be the result of severe and constant struggle rather than artificial forcing. The opportunity to earn a dollar in a factory just now is worth infinitely more than to spend a dollar in an opera house."

An organized resistance to Washington grew within the black intellectual community. But as far as the majority of middle-class and working-class blacks were concerned, Washington remained their man.


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Post Re: Chapters 1-3: Up From Slavery
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Clearly Washington rejects any apologetic for slavery as such, but his point is that by enabling Africans to become part of American society, even through great suffering and poverty, they received the providential opportunity to eventually become the equals of white Americans. But such equality is not gained by anger and hatred, but through a peaceful and practical determination to take advantage of what America has to offer.

After the war, slaves became Americans. Before this, they were not. That generation of slaves (out of how many generations on U.S. soil?) presumably had the opportunity to become equal with whites. The failure of Reconstruction in the South, and racism in the North, prevented that from happening. Regardless of bad conditions in Africa (to what degree caused by colonial powers?), it isn't true, IMO, that slaves were better off than Africans who had avoided capture. The Africans had the basic human rights to have their own culture (again Europeans disrupted that) and families. Living in a dynamic economy did slaves no good at all, and for freed blacks it was a blessing not realized.
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There is an existential question here of whether we allow our circumstances to circumscribe our destiny. Obviously to a large extent that is inevitably the case, since cultural patterns are so entrenched. Few have the character to escape from degradation. But Washington argues the individual has the capacity to rise above their conditioning. This is a sensitive matter, since there is inevitably an element of blame directed towards those who do allow their situation to dictate their options.

As a practical matter, with the damage already done, it's true that the attitude to adopt is that past and even continuing injustice cannot hold down the individual. Washington doesn't want anyone to wallow in victimhood. As you say, making the leap over large cultural barriers asks of people a degree of determination and strength that we in the privileged classes can't imagine.
Quote:
This “only because” is significant, allowing black Americans to live as free individuals rather than as tribal collectives. In tribal societies, individuals are forced to share their wealth widely, to such an extent that incentive for personal advancement is destroyed. America’s wealth is not accidental, but exists because of the enterprise of American people, its culture of liberty. Africa’s poverty is largely due to a failure to build a culture of free enterprise, with all the cultural and regulatory frameworks that enable capital growth. By taking people out of Africa and into America, enslavement served to enable the descendants of slaves to benefit from the opportunities of the American capitalist social system.

I think the words "enabled" and "slavery" don't belong together. The potential for freedom and sharing in the American Dream that freed blacks had in 1865 also doesn't come close to making the previous 200 years of slavery a fortunate circumstance.
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If it had not been for slavery, Africans would not have escaped from Africa to gain access to the opportunities of the USA. In the hypothetical thought experiment of a world without slavery, there would have been no process or incentive for black immigration to America. The opportunities available to today’s slave descendents simply would not exist, as they would be stuck in the numbing poverty and despair of Africa. The physical shackles of the middle passage eventually freed the descendants of slaves from the cultural shackles of Africa. If Africa wants development, it needs a culture of individual rights, good governance and entrepreneurial creativity.

It is possible to imagine circumstances under which, like any immigrant populations, Africans could have enjoyed the basic right to immigrate, either to the U.S. or to other countries to seek better lives. You also appear to view African societies as inherently hopeless and without positive characteristics, a large generalization that needs to be examined.
Quote:
That opens up the major economic problem of the theory of value. Slave owners were not paragons of capitalist ingenuity, but that failure of ideas is precisely why the slave economy was doomed. The broader dynamic of American history is that the ideas of industrialism were an unstoppable force. The south could not have won the Civil War, because its ideas were defective, resting on false assumptions of the rent value extracted from slave labor.

The quick, natural demise of the slave economy would be easier to believe in if it had already been in decline at the outbreak of the war, but it was ascendant, with more slave labor than ever. Another thought experiment is to speculate how many decades more it would have lasted had Lincoln let the South go its own way.



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