Was Booker T. Washington’s education program for the blacks (ex-slaves) an elitist program? I do not believe it was. Booker wanted the blacks to be respected in society, not above the whites.
Washington said that they could be respected through their productivity in a trade. He said, “You need to do a common trade in an uncommon way.” In other words, make yourself indispensable to someone else. He said that people like useful, productive workers in society. Therefore, Booker taught his students to be responsible, efficient, able to effectively perform a trade, etc…. He believed this would allow the blacks to be respected in society.