Home / Inquiry

On October 16, 1901, a month after President William McKinley’s assassination, President Theodore Roosevelt invited the influential African American educator and author, Booker T. Washington, to dinner at the White House. The White House dinner between a white man and a black man was seen as unprecedented in an era of Jim Crow, and especially since it had been only five years since the Supreme Court upheld racial segregation through the doctrine of “separate but equal.”  While both men knew the White House dinner was unique, neither anticipated the reactions of the press that would follow.

    The Guiding Question(s):
                        • How did newspapers across the United States report on and react to Booker T. Washington’s dinner with Theodore Roosevelt at the White House on October 16th, 1901? 
                        • What do the details and reactions in the press reveal about the significance of the event, Booker T. Washington, Theodore Roosevelt, and Race Relations in the Jim Crow Era?

Credit: Newspaper and Current Periodical Reading Room, Library of Congress.

 This project is sponsored in part by the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Eastern Region Program, coordinated by Waynesburg University