Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Guest of Honor by Deborah Davis

On page 242 of Guest of Honor, we learn that Lulu Hadley, a white chambermaid, wrote a letter to the editor of Philadelphia North American  saying that the Negro was "a brute, ready to kill you when your back is turned."  She felt that Booker T. Washington was an uppity Negro who should know how to "stay in his place"  and that President Roosevelt should have been impeached.  This is just one example of the backlash as a result of the press reporting that President Roosevelt had dinner with his African American guest, Booker T. Washington, at the White House.

Surprisingly, despite the smear campaigns leading up to the elections of 1904 and the racist sentiments expressed, Roosevelt won a second term as President of the United States.  Roosevelt to his credit continued to discreetly consult with Booker T. about issues relating to African Americans in the South.

I am on page 255 on a chapter titled, Blindsided.  Here is some interesting information in light of today, election day.  Although big business had financed Roosevelt's campaign, big business was one of his targets for reform.  I am also learning in this chapter about the hostility between W.E. Dubois and Booker T. and how Dubois challenged Booker T.'s influence in the black community.  I am finding this bit of history as written by Deborah Davis fascinating. 

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