Segregation and accommodation, 1895–1915
in The Debate on Black Civil Rights in America
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Although Martin Luther King had been martyred in 1968, he had at least claimed to have a vision of a future promised land. The advances achieved in desegregation and black voting rights since the 1950s suggested that this was a destination that King's children, and African Americans as a whole, would ultimately reach. Booker T. Washington's autobiographies had a fascination for his fellow citizens of all races, in that American social values at the turn of the century tended to lay undue emphasis on individual achievement at the expense of group experience. The painstaking quality of Louis Harlan's research, combined with his prolific scholarly output, established him as unquestionably the leading modern authority on Washington by the 1980s. Although careful to present a balanced picture of his subject, it was also clear that Harlan himself was generally unsympathetic to the Tuskegeean's accommodationist philosophy.

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