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US Civil Rights, 1865-1941

3. Booker T. Washington and Racial Accommodation

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About this Lecture


In this module, we focus on the civil rights activist Booker T. Washington and his concept of 'racial accommodation', outlined most famously in his Atlanta Compromise speech, delivered on 18 September 1895.


In this course, Professor Robert Cook explores the development of African-American civil rights from the end of the American Civil War (1865) to the United States' entry into World War II (1941). After a brief introduction that provides an overview of the whole course, we begin by exploring the changing fortunes of African-Americans in the Reconstruction Era (1865-77), and in the final decades of the 19th century which saw the creation of a racially segregated (or 'Jim Crow') society in the Southern states. After that, in the following three modules, we explore the ideas of three key individuals in the fight for African-American rights: in the third module, Booker T. Washington; in the fourth, W. E. B. Du Bois; and in the fifth, Marcus Garvey. In the sixth and final module, we think about the impact of the Great Depression on African-American civil rights in the United States, focusing in particular on the question of whether Franklin D. Roosevelt's 'New Deal' was 'more potent in promise than performance' so far as blacks were concerned, and the degree to which this era of reform delivered positive gains for African Americans.


Robert Cook is Professor of American History at the University of Sussex. Although he considers himself primarily as a historian of the United States during the era of the Civil War, his research interests lie at the intersection of race, politics and society in both the nineteenth and the twentieth centuries. He has published six books to date including popular surveys of the civil rights movement and the Civil War era as well as a well-received study of the Civil War Centennial of the 1960s, Troubled Commemoration, which was shortlisted for the 2008 Lincoln Prize in the United States.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Cook, R. (2018, August 15). US Civil Rights, 1865-1941 - Booker T. Washington and Racial Accommodation [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Cook, R. "US Civil Rights, 1865-1941 – Booker T. Washington and Racial Accommodation." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018,