[1916 Signed Letter from Emmett Jay Scott, African American Author and Booker T. Washington confidant, writing about Washington, in Scott’s final days at Tuskegee Institute].
Among his final correspondence written from Tuskegee, a boldly-signed letter written by Emmett Jay Scott (1873–1957), journalist, author, envoy and Booker T. Washington’s personal secretary, confidant, and his key adviser at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. Scott writes to Harold C. Saunders, a Black college student at Florida A&M University (HBCU).
Scott’s April 6, 1917 letter-date is notable as this is the exact day America officially entered the First World War. Scott’s career would quickly transition from Tuskegee Institute to his role as special advisor of Black affairs to Secretary of War Newton Baker, an appointment made by President Woodrow Wilson.
In this post, Scott authored The American Negro in the World War (1919) and Negro Migration during the First World War (1920). “At a time when race relations were exacerbated by race riots, discrimination against Negro soldiers, and low morale, Scott was an effective go-between [...] conveying the thinking of the War Department to Negroes and their thinking to the War Department.” (DANB)
In this letter, Scott writes knowledgeably about Booker T. Washington who had passed two years earlier, in 1915: “There are several plantation melodies of which Dr. Washington was particularly fond. Among them are: ‘Rise, Shine, For the Light is A-coming,’ ‘I Know the Lord’s Laid His Hands on Me,’ ‘My Lord, What a Morning!,’ ‘Every Time I Feel the Spirit,’ ‘I want to be Ready, and ‘Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.’”
The letter shows that Scott provided Saunders, under separate cover, Tuskegee Institute literature and speeches by Washington. He also suggested that Saunders contact the Afro-American Art Company at the Branch Normal School, Pine Bluff, Arkansas, to secure a bust of Washington.
Description: [1916 Signed Letter from Emmett Jay Scott, African American Author and Booker T. Washington confidant, writing about Washington, in Scott’s final days at Tuskegee Institute].
Tuskegee Institute, Alabama. April 6, 1917. Quarto, 1 full-page on the school’s letterhead: “The Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute Founded by Booker T. Washington for the Training of Colored Young Men and Women .... [etc.]” Transmittal folds and tiny paper defects; very good.