The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 87, July 1983 - April, 1984

Book Reviews

will recognize most sources. The exclusion of references to related
works by Phillips and to Robert W. Fogel and Stanley L. Engerman's
Time on the Cross, and the use of secondary sources to footnote
quotations, are drawbacks. Not every reader will agree with Oakes's
conclusions, but the book is well edited, readable, provocative, and a
welcome addition to the literature of slavery.
Texas A&M University VICTOR H. TREAT
Booker T. Washington: The Wizard of Tuskegee, 1go1-1915. By
Louis R. Harlan. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1983.
Pp. xiv+548. Preface, acknowledgments, illustrations, notes,
index. $30.)
Eleven years ago Louis Harlan published the first volume of this
biography, Booker T. Washington: The Making of a Black Leader,
1856-gor (1972). In the intervening period he has been coediting,
with Raymond W. Smock, the thirteen volumes of the Booker T.
Washington Papers. The delay has been worthwhile, for his story of
the last fifteen years of Washington's life is a major scholarly achieve-
ment. By drawing on the vast body of correspondence and manuscript
materials, Harlan is even more convincing than in his first volume
about his premise, that Washington's life was a deeply ambiguous one
in which the public image of the conciliatory southern black man
concealed a secret career of political intrigue and civil-rights activity.
The biographer contends that his subject can correctly be seen as a
political boss who identifies his own policies and interests with the
good of his race, and who carefully masks the exercise of his power in
the advancing of his policies.
Harlan's best analysis comes in examining instances where these
ambiguities create major difficulties for Washington. A key case is the
Brownsville, Texas, episode of 1906. When a disturbance near a mili-
tary installation resulted in the death of one white man and injury
to several others, President Theodore Roosevelt dismissed three com-
panies of black soldiers stationed at the fort, though there was no
substantial evidence of their guilt. Roosevelt stood by his decision
despite Washington's plea for an investigation and his warning that
the president's standing with blacks would be seriously damaged.
However, because he was dependent on the White House for his
own power, the head of the Tuskegee Machine could do nothing.


Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 87, July 1983 - April, 1984. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed May 29, 2016.

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