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    Booker T. Washington

    Theodore Roosevelt: Highly Desirable Pro-TR Equality Pin. On the afternoon of October 16, 1901, Booker T. Washington visited President Roosevelt; he was invited to stay for dinner, making him the first black to dine at the White House. News of the event leaked to the press two days later, causing a furor amongst racist white society and Southern politicians. The President was mercilessly criticized, causing him to deal less aggressively on the delicate civil rights issue. He never repeated the mistake, although he did visit Washington at the Tuskegee Institute in 1905. Roosevelt did have his supporters and many in the African-American community viewed the event with pride. In 1903, a poster was issued to commemorate the meeting. It showed Booker T. Washington and President Theodore Roosevelt seated facing each other at the dining table, titled "EQUALITY". A 1½" celluloid button was also produced, copied from the poster, which is our current offering. Two other designs were issued which are considered derogatory in nature. In these "knock-off" designs, the Washington character is not clearly recognizable, appears inappropriately casual and familiar, and the water decanter is replaced with a liquor bottle. In our button, Washington is clearly identifiable and both parties appear dignified and mutually respectful. The design is "Copyright 1903 C. H. Thomas and P. H. Lacey" and produced by the Chicago Photo Button Company. The condition is excellent. There are a few inconsequential, small air pockets on the outer edge, visible only at an angle, typical with "real photo" buttons of this type. Heritage sold an example in 2004 for $7948. Interestingly, the consignor's grandfather (George W. Crockett, Jr., a Congressman from Michigan and lawyer noted for his involvement in civil liberties and civil rights struggles) received an offer of $400 for this button in 1989 from APIC President Geary Vlk whose holdings we have been auctioning. That letter is included in the offering.

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    Auction Dates
    November, 2010
    17th Wednesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 8
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,435

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    I don’t often do testimonials but in this case I felt truly obligated to thank Heritage Auctions for the extremely professional job your organization did for me.
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