Booker X? A 1950 review of Booker T Washington.

From Hubert W Peet's The Man Without a Name:
review of Dr Basil Mathews' biography of Booker T Washington.

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Peet's review

There is a deservedly anthologised poem about the conflict between emancipators, Booker T and W B Du Bois. Booker T doesnt go quite so far as to say that all you need is love, but he seems to think the black man's needs for civil rights are minimal. 'It seems to me..,' he always starts. And Du Bois always rejoins 'I disagree,' with bitter experience of what lacking full legal protection has meant to the negro.
Eventually, he as much as says to take yourself off, with your small aims.
But Booker T doggedly goes on: 'It seems to me...'
'I disagree,' Du Bois cuts in.

It is obvious on which side of the debate the Black militant, Malcolm X was on, as he is remembered, before he fully entered the multi-racial milieu of Islam, admittedly a militant religion. Whereas, Booker T was the most non-combative of emancipators. Yet, slavery robbed even the victims' names, as an indication of their cultural heritage. So, Hubert Peet's review, of Dr Basil Mathews' 1950 English biography of Booker, is called The Man Without a Name. This is the reason why X, for mystery, was used by Malcolm X.

Dr Mathews' brother attributed the name 'Booker' to bukar, meaning 'Sonny', as Mohammedan Nigerian mothers still called their small sons.

Yet another cutting, religiously stowed in a 1945 copy of Up From Slavery disputes this:

ORIGIN OF BOOKER. -- W. Hutcheson, Teignmouth, S. Devon, writes : I read the article in your paper a few weeks ago about Booker Washington and am writing to say the author made a mistake about the origin of his first name.
To Anglicize Bukar into Booker, to say the least of it, seems very far fetched.
As a matter of fact, Washington was a slave belonging to a great-uncle of mine named Booker.
Slaves, when liberated, often took the name of their master, and Washington took that of my great-uncle as his first.

Regrettably, 'Bukar' Washington is just poetic license.

Booker T never knew where his second name, 'Taliaferro' came from. Peet's review states:

It has recently come to light that there was a white man of this name living on a neighbouring plantation. The inference is obvious, especially when one recalls that probably 80 per cent. of the Negro race in the United States is of mixed blood.

Booker adopted his step-father's first name, Washington, when he found all the boys at 'his first rough school' had two names, whereas he was just 'Booker' - Booker X, you might say.

Booker Washington's monument is the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute, especially for the technical education of negro men and women. Peet recalls his 'healthy shock' at being put in segregated accommodation, at Tuskegee. This was not pettiness. The reason was not to antagonise segrational feeling in Alabama.

Booker did believe in looking after the details, praising an attractive garden or blaming untidiness. Staff and students thought him snoopy. Mrs Washington wrote on one of his chits: 'Umph! Umph!! Umph!!!

It seems, most negroes have believed Booker was too accommodating to a racialist society, with a formally egalitarian constitution. His education was thought to keep the negro in a lowly station. So, it is gratifying to remember the movie of The Tuskegee Airmen. This recorded how negro pilots had to suffer the well-nigh insurmountable prejudice of their own country-men, before they were allowed to fight in world war two, with distinction.

Hubert Peet quotes Mathews on the great changes, brought about by the two world wars, on the position of the American negro:

During two world wars and in the industrial boom at the end of the first, millions of Negroes trekked from the South to the North, drawn by the higher wages and the greater freedom. Of three million coloured workers in the North by the end of the second World War, 90 per cent. lived in the big cities... White workers in the North were tempted to organize to eliminate the Negro from the ranks of the skilled worker.

The position, therefore, is not the same as when Booker Washington wore himself out on behalf of his race...

Basil Mathews contends that Washington's long-term programme shows that 'he was at least half a century ahead of the world around him.'

( But ) greater by far than the sum of all Booker Washington's functional achievements was the man himself...his naive, devastating peasant wisdom and his almost blinding singlemindedness, in which native shrewdness, elemental saintliness, droll humour and the pungency of the farmyard were so strangely blended...He was and he remains to uncounted millions of common people the challenging and bracing incarnation of what each would wish to be, his own archetypal and ideal self.

( John O'London's weekly, February 17, 1950, was printed on the other side of a news-paper cutting, of this review, but may refer to another paper. )

Another short review in 'Corner Piece,' by Sydney Walton.

( of the same book, published by Harvard University Press in America, and the Student Christian Movement, in Britain ) describing:

'a strange Odyssey with a borrowed mule and a crude wagon to present greatness...'

Over-leaf is a box for adverts in The British Weekly.
There, a column, about Evangelical Christianity and Methodism, explains the inspirational style of the eulogy on Booker Washington, which says, in passing:

'I yearn that South Africa, opening the pages, may give hospitality to an ultimate wisdom'...

Among the mentions over-leaf is American Methodism, which features, in Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin.
The Methodist founder, John Wesley was dying, when he enquired anxiously after the success of William Wilberforce's Bill to abolish slavery.

John Wesley preaches to the red man

A further clip from an unknown English writer and news-paper says:

To read of certain untoward happenings in America's 'deep South,' one would imagine that the work of Lincoln had gone for nothing. But that was not the impression one gathered from the American-Negro soldiers -- particularly the lorry drivers -- one met on this side of the Atlantic during the war. How clean and big and strong they were -- how well dressed -- how calmly and confidently American! In their demeanour one saw part of the fruit of the life-work of Booker T. Washington, who taught his emancipated race to develop their own best qualities by education, and by tacit co-operation in worth, kindness and patience...Never was there a man more understandingly wise. His autobiography is for ever a live classic.

The keeper of these and other cuttings, in an English copy of Up From Slavery did not inscribe a name. A clue to possible identity is the use, for a book-mark, of a punched 'Workman's Weekly Return Ticket.' Issued by the North Western Road Car Co. Ltd. 15 Aug 1947.

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Burnett's children's review of Booker Washington.

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