Up from Slavery: Chapter 11,12
Summary – Chapter Eleven, ‘Making Their Beds Before They Could Lie On Them’ and Chapter Twelve, ‘Raising Money’
Washington learned from General Armstrong to love rather than hate and resolved long ago to not permit any man to ‘narrow and degrade’ his soul by making him hate him. He sees the most harmful effect of race prejudice as being potential damage made of the morals of the prejudiced one. He regards the injury to ‘the Negro’ as temporary.
He also says how he has always been shown respect by the students and the white population in the area.
In Chapter Twelve, he tells how there was a need to build another new building for student accommodation. They needed more money for this and fortunately General Armstrong invited him to come North with him and a quartet of singers to raise funds for Tuskegee. This was a success and it also acted as a form of introduction as Washington continued to make this journey for years to come.
His experience in raising money for Tuskegee has taught him to have no patience with those who always condemn the rich just because they are rich and if it is assumed they give no money away. He personally knows wealthy people who give away thousands quietly every year.
He describes the fund raising as work not luck, and exemplifies this with reference to when Andrew Carnegie donated $20,000 for a new library and how this had taken 10 years of hard work to secure.
Analysis – Chapter Eleven, ‘Making Their Beds Before They Could Lie On Them’ and Chapter Twelve, ‘Raising Money’
Washington’s conservative politics come to the fore in these chapters as he expands on his views of capitalism and the self-defeating effects of bitterness.
When he defends the rich, it as though the school’s dependence on charitable donations has put blinkers on any understanding of how capitalism works (which from a socialist perspective is by exploiting the workers and by an unfair distribution of wealth and capital).
It is, of course, also possible that he is being strategic in his criticisms in this text and therefore avoids biting the feeding hand. If one perceives his stance as pragmatic, his defence of the wealthy is both understandable and more palatable.