Authentication Materials:

  1. Speech Title as it is to be printed: “Atlanta Exposition Address.”
  2. Exact Date and Place of Speech Delivery: 18 September 1895. Cotton States and International Exposition, Piedmont Park, Atlanta, Georgia.
  3. Complete Name of Speaker, with year of birth and year of death: Booker T. Washington (1856–1915).
  4. Complete name of editor or compiler of electronic text: Paul Stob (compiler and editor).
  5. Date of electronic edition: July 2021
  6. Languages: English (100%).
  7. Indications of editing functions performed: Paul Stob compiled the Atlanta Constitution text and a transcript from the Booker T. Washington Papers. He transcribed, edited, and proofread the speech text found here.

Bibliographic List of Sources:

“A Plea for His Race.” The Atlanta Constitution. 19 September 1895, 4. [=A]

Washington, Booker T. “Atlanta Exposition Speech.” 18 September 1895. Transcript draft with autograph corrections. Booker T. Washington Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress. Online at [=B]

Statement of Editorial Procedures:

The most often reprinted version of the Atlanta Exposition Address comes from Booker T. Washington’s autobiography Up from Slavery (1901). That version, however, was altered for publication, most notably in the conclusion, as discussed in the interpretive essay accompanying the speech on VOD.

A more complete text of the speech is the transcript copy with autograph corrections found in the Booker T. Washington Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress, and available online here:

The copy text for this version was made by comparing the Library of Congress typescript copy with the speech as it was printed in full in “A Plea for His Race,” The Atlanta Constitution, 19 September 1895, 4. To my knowledge, this is the only complete text printed on 19 September, the day after the speech, making it temporally closest to date of delivery. It was also published in Atlanta’s major newspaper, making it geographically closest to its delivery. It is likely that this version came from a reporter at the Atlanta Exposition’s opening ceremony, perhaps in conjunction with Washington’s manuscript for the speech.

Paragraph numbers have been added in square brackets.

The text of this edition has been thoroughly checked and proofread.

All double quotation marks are rendered with “, all single quotation marks with an apostrophe ‘.

This copy text is not subject to end-of-line hyphenation.

Special characters and characters with diachronic marks: none.

Departures from the copy-text are as follows (reference numbers specify paragraph in which the departure occurs):

11 retarding B: missing A.

13 right and important A: important and right in B.