Booker Taliaferro Washington (April 5, 1856 - November 14, 1915) was an African-American civil rights leader of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Born into slavery and emancipated at the age of nine, Washington believed the single greatest obstacle to racial progress in the United States was the deficiency of black education in the South, where the vast majority of African-Americans lived in Washington's time. With financial, political, and moral support from some of the country's most prominent citizens (black and white) and organizations, he founded and administered the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama. This school, which eventually became Tuskegee University, one of the premier schools for African-American students of its time.
Among other activities, Washington also wrote extensively on the subject of civil rights and other topics. One of his better-known quotations is "One man cannot hold another man down in the ditch without remaining down in the ditch with him."
A Negro who got out of the CSA before the Great War said something to the effect of "If you hold a man down in the gutter, you have to get into the gutter yourself." This wisdom was repeated (and possibly misquoted) by Congresswoman Flora Blackford in a discussion with her brother David Hamburger in 1945. The topic of the discussion was whether the USA could afford to occupy indefinitely territory formerly belonging to the defunct countries of the Confederacy and Canada. Both siblings feared that, by doing so, the US ran the risk of having its political institutions corrupted by authoritarianism not unlike that practiced by the Freedom Party.