Toward a Racially Just Workplace

“Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which [one] has overcome while trying to succeed.”

Booker T. Washington, the educator, author, activist, and presidential adviser, wrote those words more than a century ago as a way of encouraging his African American compatriots — many of them recently emancipated from slavery — to persist in the fight for equal rights and economic opportunities. He was proud of what he and his peers had achieved. He surely believed there was satisfaction in struggling against and surmounting bad odds. And yet we must also assume that he, along with millions of other freedom fighters, wanted future generations of Black Americans to suffer fewer hardships. He hoped today’s Black leaders would find easier paths to success.

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