Booker T. Washington to Charles Monroe Lincoln, Tuskegee, Alabama, 14 December 1908, with enclosed "The Woman Suffrage Movement," which appeared in the New York Times on 20 December 1908, The Booker T. Washington Papers, Library of Congress. Published in Louis R. Harlan and Raymond W. Smock, eds., The Booker T. Washington Papers (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1980), 9:700-01.

As the woman suffrage movement gained momentum, Booker T. Washington issued the following statement to the New York Times:

      I am in favor of every measure that will give to woman, the opportunity to develop to the highest possible extent, her moral, intellectual, and physical nature so that she may make her life as useful to herself and to others as it is possible to make it. I do not, at the present moment, see that this involves the privilege or the duty, as you choose to look upon it, of voting.

      The influence of woman is already enormous in this country. She exerts, not merely in the homes, but through the schools and in the press, a powerful and helpful influence upon affairs. It is not clear to me that she would exercise any greater or more beneficent influence upon the world than she now does, if the duty of taking an active part in politics were imposed upon her.

      But this is a question concerning which, it seems to me, the women know better than men, and I am willing to leave it to their deliberate judgment.

—Excerpt from Booker T. Washington, "The Woman
Suffrage Movement," New York Times, 20 December 1908

3. What two reasons did Booker T. Washington give for not actively supporting the woman suffrage movement?









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