Chief Lieutenant of the Tuskegee Machine

Topics: Black people, Negro, African American Pages: 5 (1881 words) Published: November 5, 2007
Gaitor, Bridget
Word Count: 1,859

The Chief Lieutenant of the Tuskegee Machine by David H. Jackson Jr. exemplifies the life of Charles Banks as Booker T. Washington's main abettor, in the Tuskegee Machine. This descriptive autobiography of Charles Banks life's work, gives the reader an insight into the success of Booker T. Washington. Along with the biography of Charles Banks life, the book also addresses the creation and struggles of Mound Bayou. It also gives the reader an inside look on Booker T. Washington's complex, economic concentrations rooted in the African American Community called the Tuskegee Machine.

David H. Jackson is a college professor who was writing a research paper for a research seminar course. His professor gave the class a list of people to write a research paper about. Jackson randomly chooses Charles Banks from the list. From his research paper a remarkable biography came about. Jackson begins his biography by stating his various purposes for writing this biography in the preface. One purpose was to give students a new interpretation of Booker T. Washington and the Tuskegee Machine from conniving, heavy handed, intolerable, and ruthless. I believe this purpose was not presented in the book adequately. The author leads the reader to believe that the negative attention Gaitor, Bridget2

drawn towards Washington was in reaction to his ideas of "self help". Washington is also portrayed as being a prominent leader "because they were dependant on his recommendation for federal political appointments (50)". He also makes this point evident by stating that "Washington's influences could literally make or break Negroes in public life (50)". These comments lead the reader to believe that the methods of Washington to establish our economic independence with the Tuskegee Machine were, by enlisting fear of social status. Another Purpose was to give an insight into the Tuskegee Machine. The author gives the reader little information into the Tuskegee Machine. Jackson only states another writer's opinion of the true purpose of the Tuskegee Machine. He does not tell the reader what the Tuskegee Machine is. Leaving a gap in this piece of information forces the reader to create there own definition may it be right or wrong. Washington had "influences and connections to with white philanthropists and those philanthropists had resources that could benefit the town (51)". Banks connection with Washington was a little extra push of Mound Bayou in the right direction financially, thanks to his connects in white America. The members of the Tuskegee Machine were more than Washington's puppets of promotion of self-help and racial uplift. There was also the intendment of informing scholars of the benefits received by the members. The members were described as businessmen who were wealthy and intelligent. Jackson also presents a lieutenant and shows that if it were not for such key men, Washington would not be as effective as he was. The only flaw of Jackson's purpose for writing this biography was the lack of information on the other lieutenants. His main focus was on Washington and Bank's relationship. Gaitor, Bridget3

Jackson embedded numerous themes without the biography. One of those major themes was social status within the African American community. Throughout the book the author discusses the leaders of the time period as being of higher social class. Along with the characters descriptions the author would say their social status as though it was necessary to identify them. The theme of classicism gave insight to the black elite, and the middle class African Americans. Jackson explained why the middle class and black elite were prosperous and advocates of change. He describes the new black elite as "mostly self-made men and women who were usually less articulate and less educated than the old elite (17)". Obtaining a high position on the social ladder was evidently a need in the black community. It makes...
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