The Atlanta compromise was an agreement struck in 1895 between Booker Taliaferro Washington (April 5, 1856 – November 14, 1915), president of the Tuskegee University, and other Black American leaders, and Southern white leaders. The compromise was announced on September 18, 1895, at the Atlanta Exposition Speech. The agreement was that Southern Blacks would work and submit to white Political rule, and Southern whites guaranteed that blacks would receive basic education and due process in law. The compromise also was that blacks would not agitate for equality, integrations or justice, and whites would fund blacks educational charities.


The agreement was never written down. Essential elements of the agreement were that blacks would not ask for the right to vote. The Compromise agreement had it’s critics, none more than two prominent black leaders of that time W.E. Du Bois (February 23, 1868 – August 27, 1963) and William Monroe Trotter (April 7, 1872 – April 7, 1934). Both men ), took issue with the compromise, instead believing that African-Americans should engage in a struggle for civil rights. W. E. B. Du Bois coined the term “Atlanta Compromise” to denote the agreement. The term “accommodationism” is also used to denote the essence of the Atlanta compromise.

After Washington’s death in 1915, supporters of the Atlanta compromise gradually shifted their support to civil rights activism, until the modern Civil Rights Movement commenced in the 1950s.

Why would Booker T. Washington find the Atlanta Compromise acceptable is unclear. His motives behind it is also unclear.


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