“Was Washington’s program for gaining social acceptance for blacks an elitist program?”
I don’t think that that Booker was trying to do anything to imply that he was elite. He didn’t care about the color of your skin or where you came from. He wanted everyone to be respected, and doing your part and working hard was the way to become respected, to show you were willing to go through the hard things to come out the other side. Hard work shouldn’t make people look down on you. Before slaves were freed, manual labor was saved mostly for the slaves. Many slaves afterward tried to become teachers and learn Latin or Greek just so they wouldn’t have to work anymore. At Booker’s school, work was a crucial part of the students’ education. All of them were to learn at least one trade, because without the people to work, there wouldn’t be anything you could do with your life afterwards. Where would you get your food if no one grew any? Or where could you buy a house, if no one repaired the old ones and no one came to build new ones? If no one makes clothes, then what would you wear? Booker believed that if everyone had something to offer to society, then the black race wouldn’t be looked down on anymore. He wasn’t trying to be elitist, it sounds more like he just wanted equality.