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The Booker T. Washington Papers
VOLUME 7 1903-4
By Louis R. Harlan, Raymond W. Smock
UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS PRESSCopyright © 1977 The Board Of Trustees Of The University Of Illinois
All rights reserved.
To Robert Todd Lincoln
[Tuskegee, Ala.] January 2, 1903
My dear Sir: I very much hope that you can find time to read the enclosed statement in regard to the treatment, on one of your cars, of a young colored man, a graduate of a college in Iowa, and one of the most intelligent a[n]d refined men that I have met. It does seem to me that a rich and powerful corporation like yours could find some way to extend in some degree, protection to the weak. I believe it is possible to settle this matter in a business-like, high-toned way and not humiliate passengers in the way that the present policy or system permits. Yours truly,
[Booker T. Washington]
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From Cassius Carter
San Diego, California Jany. 6. 1903
My dear Mr. Washington: I want to congratulate you upon the splendid impression you made in San Diego. Especially do I want to thank you for the realization brought to me personally that the education and moral uplifting of the Negro will reconcile the white man to his presence. Really, it is the inconsequential characteristics of the negro that mostly offend — loud-talking, assumption; more so than some serious shortcomings. I wish there were some strong energy working upon the Anglo-Saxon as you on yr. side, awakening his sense of justice, and stimulating his patience. Don't trouble to answer this note. I am very sincerely yr. friend,
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Thomas Junius Calloway to Emmett Jay Scott
Washington, D.C. Jan. 12, 1903
Dear Mr. Scott: You will be interested to know that we had an "anti-Booker Washington["] meeting at Bethel Literary society the other night. "Upstart" Ferris, from everywhere in general and from nowhere in particular addressed the society on "The Boston Negro's Idea of Booker Washington." The burden of his complaint and, as he states, of the Boston Negroes, seems to be that Mr. W. ignores and actually harms the higher aspirations of the Negro, because of his public utterances of the Negro's need of industrial education. Of course this is the old, old story of Mr. W's being opposed to the higher education of the Negro, which has been refuted so often. Ferris attempted to belittle Mr. W's motives, and attempted to show that Mr. W. was losing hold of the New England people. He gave credit for the work done at Tuskegee, but deplored as a racial calamity the "gospel of work" which Mr. W. is preaching to the American people. If you have seen the Boston Guardian I suppose you know better than I can say the nature of Ferris' animadversions.
The interesting feature of the occasion, to me, was the evidence of a number of people here who, from their applause, indicated a feeling of hostility to Mr. W. In studying these malcontents I felt that I could account for each of them by reason of interest in rival institutions, Howard, Atlanta, &c. and the others under the not very elegant term of "sore heads" who have succeeded wonderfully in doing nothing themselves and hence have a grievance against any man who is doing something.
I must say, however, that except on the part of some over zealous "defenders" of Mr. W. the discussion was on a high plane, and interesting principally in the fact that with all the ingenuity of the "Boston Negroes" and their advocate (Ferris) so little could be trumped up in the way of grievances against Mr. W. whose sphere of influence has extended so immensely and whose utterances in detached statements are published so widely in the press.
As friends of Mr. W. Mrs. Calloway and I have agreed that the puerile result of this effort to find fault with Mr. W's motives and public service, has been one of his most eloquent tributes. Verilyi his life work is best praised by the enemies he has made.
Mrs. C. joins me in best regards to you, Mrs. S. and the little S (or s's). We hope you will honor us with a call in some of your "flights" through Washington. Sincerely,
Thos. J. Calloway
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From Theophilus B. Morton
San Francisco, January 13, 1903
My dear Mr. Washington: After carefully considering the matter of the invitation so kindly given by you, to attend the annual banquet of the Unitarian Club this evening, at which you are to be the guest of honor, I have concluded that it will be more prudent and wise for me, and more beneficial to the cause to which you are so faithfully devoting your noble life, for me not to accept, for the following reasons:
First: it is a purely social function, held annually, for the pleasure of the members and such persons as are invited by the Club or its members to be their guests. I have therefore some delicacy of feeling about attending, unless the invitation should be tendered by the Club or some member thereof.
Second, I had, prior to your arrival, through the influence of a prominent member of the legal fraternity, made an effort to secure a ticket admitting me upon this occasion, in order that I might hear your address to this most cultured and critical assemblage, in the same spirit and sense that many of our white friends prefer to hear you address those of your own race. I did not know at that time, however, that the affair was of a strictly social character, and one that would naturally be confined to that particular social circle. When I did learn this, I informed my legal friend that I did not want an invitation, and would not go if he obtained a ticket for me.
Thirdly, I will not attend, because I fear indeed, [am] almost certain, that it will prove injurious to your cause and work in the future.
Fourth. While I am certain that I would be treated with the highest courtesy were I to attend, this would not relieve me of the humiliation which in the very nature of things would be felt by me, in the knowledge that I am not, in the true and proper sense, an invited guest of the real hosts of the occasion, and in the further fact that my presence was injuring the cause of my whole race.
Lastly: I rejoice to see you rise in every line, socially as well as otherwise, because as you go up, you carry the race, myself included, with you, and I will do nothing to impede your progress or injure the cause in the slightest degree. I shall be encouraged by your life and accomplishments to strive to elevate myself to that station where courtesies and high social recognition shall come to me because of my inherent worth and accomplishment in some line. This is my nature, ambition and determination. Go up I will: go down, I will not. I don't want to be a small crab to the great work you are doing me.
Trusting that you will accept my declination, viewing it in the broad, lofty and sincere spirit in which you tendered the invitation, I am, my dear sir, Very sincerely at your command at all times,
T. B. Morton
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To Hollis Burke Frissell
Tuskegee, Ala., Jan. 20,1903
Dear Dr. Frissell: I have just returned from a trip to California where I put in thirteen days of pretty active work.
My purpose in writing is to urge you to consider the matter of going to California with the Hampton quartette. I believe that there is a field for Hampton and Tuskegee in California which we should take immediate advantage of. Having gone this year I shall not attempt to go before the end of two years at least, but if you could go a year from now that would keep alive the interest in Negro education. While traveling expenses would be considerable if you had to pay full fare, still in every case where I went in California I found the collections averaged nearly three times as large as collections in New England towns and cities. For example, in Oakland in the Congregational Church the collection was something over a thousand dollars. During the thirteen days that I was in the state, I got in cash from individuals and at meetings something over $8,000, and I believe that Hampton would do as well or better. There is a lot of wealth there which needs to be cultivated and educated. Mr. Harriman gave me transportation over the Southern and Union Pacific roads so that the trip and railroad expenses cost little. There is a large wealthy class of people who go to Southern California for the winter, aside from the wealth possessed by the native Californians. In case you go I would suggest your starting in time to begin work the first of February. My trip was a little too early to catch the greater part of the Eastern visitors. Aside from this, I should have planned to have remained in the state at least a month as there were many important places that I could not touch. I believe that looked at from another point of view, you would find the beautiful scenery and charming climate of California would be a great rest and tonic for you that would prove beneficial from many points of view. Yours truly,
Booker T. Washington
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From Charles William Anderson
"Hoffman House" Hampton, Va. Jan 23 1903
My dear Doctor Washington: Yours of the 21st at hand. Just before leaving New York, I called on Gen. Clarkson and found Bishop Walters waiting in his office. The good bishop invited me to take part in his interview with the General and briefly outlined its tenor. It was a proposition in favor of the election of a committee of ten or a dozen Colored men to advise the President in relation to the colored appointments, and thereby to "relieve Brother Washington," as he put it. I took occasion to enter a gentle demurrer, on the ground that I felt that Mr. Washington was pre eminently the man to advise the President along these lines, and because I felt also that such a committee would get the President in more trouble than the war with Venezuela. I maintained that if the President was competent to name a good committee, he was competent enough to get along without one; and if it was to be named by parties other than the President, who could prevent its being packed, and standing always for the appointment of the friends of the boss of the packed committee, and against other worthy applicants. I also advanced the opinion that such a committee would probably endorse men who could not command the support of their state leaders and members of the U.S. Senate, and thereby bring the President into conflict with these high signatory powers, in case he acted on their recommendations. Clarkson concurred with me very fully, but I thought — I may have been mistaken — but rather got the impression that the bishop was a trifle disappointed. The bishop did not say anything against you or your leadership. He seemed to feel that you were being overworked. I am rather of opinion that his proposition emenated from his desire to be doing a little leading for the race, rather than from any scheme to displace you. At the same time, I thought you ought to know something about it — particularly as I have heard the scheme mentioned by several of the race "party-builders" during the past two or three weeks. It may be interesting to you to know that Genl Clarkson did not approve of the plan, but agreed with me entirely.
I pass this along in confidence. The General will doubtless tell you all about it, when you see him.
We leave here on next Wednesday or Thursday for New York. My wife directs me to send her regards to both Mrs Washington & yourself. Yours Faithfully,
Charles W. Anderson
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From William Henry Baldwin, Jr.
Brooklyn, N.Y. Friday Jan 23. 
Dear Mr Washington, I have watched your Western trip with great interest. Your letter today is full of encouragement, and inspiration. I have taken the liberty of sending copies (of your reference to your trip) to our close friends.
It is very important.
I have spent the evening on Genl. Edn. work. Getting ready for our annual meeting tomorrow.
On Thursday next we have our first meeting under our National incorporation at Washn. D.C. and also we meet the Peabody Board.
They have asked us to help them decide important questions, and to cooperate with them. My hopes are being realized. General Education, Slater & Peabody.
It scares Mr Murphy, but I am not afraid of the results of concentration.
There are lots of things to talk over. Our meeting of the Southern Board, the Ogden dinner, the Armstrong meeting (poor) the meeting in Phila. with the Academy of Political Science (good) My New York local Negro Conference, (2nd meeting next Monday), My talk with DuBois, etc.
Let me know soon when you expect to come North, so I can plan time for you. I am not going out much, as Mrs Baldwin is not at all well.
I want to talk with you about Tillmanism, and the Prest. and Southern (mis)representation! My regards to all. Faithfully
W H Baldwin Jr.
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To Theodore Roosevelt
Tuskegee, Alabama. January 24,1903
Personal and Confidential.
My dear Mr. President: I have just reached home from a three weeks trip to California, but I have kept closely in touch with matters in the South during my absence. I have received both of your letters on my return.
I cannot feel that it would be to the best interest of all concerned for me to see you just now, in person, and that I had better not do so provided the same end can be accomplished indirectly. If it cannot I will go to Washington at once. In any case I mean to see both Postmaster General Payne and Gen. Clarkson soon.
I am not afraid to do anything that I think is right, but I think it just as well to recognize the fact that the newspapers are making quite an effort just now to keep the South inflamed and if it can be avoided, without yielding in the matter of principle, I do not think it wise to do anything that will add to the flames, especially now that matters seem to be somewhat quieting down. I have studied matters closely from every point of view and I cannot see how you could have acted differently from what you have, and I am sure and believe that time will justify your actions.
I am keeping in close touch with the Advisory Committee in this state and matters are being handled cautiously and wisely. I had a talk with Mr. C. H. Scott this morning and he and the other members are most devoted and loyal.
I have written a separate letter today about Mississippi matters.
I am in close and constant touch with the Negro leaders and Negro papers in every part of the country, and with the exception of a few soreheads in Washington and Boston, no President has ever had the gratitude and loyal support of a race to the extent that you have it now. Of course, we must and shall watch closely, in the Southern States especially, every point that we may not be taken unawares by an enemy.
I am most anxious to see a really first class man go as Minister to Liberia, and if I can help you find such a man please let me know.
This note will reach you through my Secretary, and I have left the matter of the means of communicating it to you to his discretion. I hope that you will talk fully and freely with him regarding any matters that you want me to understand or anything you may want me to do. I have given Mr. Scott some memoranda to take up with you.
The marked copy of the Charleston News and Courier and your letter do not seem to have connection. I think you must have sent the wrong newspaper.
I am hoping that you thoroughly understand, Mr. President, that I mean at all times to stand firmly by you. Yours very truly,
Booker T. Washington
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From Edgar Stewart Wilson
Jackson [Miss.] Jan 24,1903
My dear Mr. Washington: This morning I found a letter here from the Post Master General asking me for an immediate recommendation for a presidential office appointment. The incumbent appointed not by our friend, is short and its caused me — coupled with the uncertainties of the white cap situation with which I am called on to deal — to wire you that I could not go to Washington. There was no necessity for my going, I simply thought I might be of some service to the president, or the department, in the matter of suggestions concerning the Indianola matter, etc.
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