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But equality, according to Washington, was a privilege to be earned.
"The wisest among my race understand that the agitation of questions of social equality is the extremest folly," Washington said in his address, "and that progress in the enjoyment of all the privileges that will come to us must be the result of severe and constant struggle, rather than of artificial forcing...
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Oddly, Washington called for "constant struggle" while denouncing the "agitation of questions of social equality." He might have been able to do two opposite things at once, but, as today's activists are aware, without agitation there is no struggle. People like Du Bois knew it a hundred years ago.
"Separation in railway and street cars, based simply on race and color, is un-American, undemocratic, and silly," Du Bois wrote in 1903, several years after Washington's address...
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