Early 1900s postcard of President Roosevelt and African American


Interesting political postcard, showing President Theodore Roosevelt in his finest suit and top hat, walking arm-in arm with an African-American dandy (Booker T. Washington?)

 French postcard, with text at bottom:

‘Etas-Unis. Blanc et Noir.’


United States. White and Black


On February 13th 1905, Theodore Roosevelt, having recently been elected to the presidency in his own right, spoke to the New York City Republican Club about the state of race relations in the United States. 

Roosevelt, the nation’s 26th president, used the “rising tide raises all ships” metaphor. He said that if “morality and thrift among the colored men can be raised,” then those same virtues among whites, which most Americans assumed to be more advanced, would “rise to an even higher degree.” At the same time, he warned that “the debasement of the blacks will, in the end, carry with it [the] debasement of the whites.”


One of his first challenges on the race issue occurred early in his first term, which he had entered after being elevated from the vice presidency. In 1901, Booker T. Washington, the most important black leader of the time, was the first African-American to be invited to dine at the White House. The two discussed politics and racism. When word of the dinner reached the press two days later, there was an outcry of criticism from many white people, particularly in the South. Roosevelt never invited another African-American to the White House again.


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