“The individual who can do something that the world wants done will, in the end, make his way regardless of his race. One man may go into a community prepared to supply the people there with an analysis of Greek sentences. The community may not at that time be prepared for or feel the need of, Greek analysis, but it may feel its need of bricks and houses and wagons.”

This quotation, which appears in Chapter 10 after Tuskegee succeeds in making its first full batch of bricks, communicates the importance making oneself useful as a method for assimilating into an unsympathetic or hostile society. Washington subtly undercuts arguments against his program of industrial training by highlighting how skilled workers, presumably Black, can produce goods that others, presumably white, need. Even in the event of racial prejudice, need overwhelms, creating the possibility for mutually profitable and productive relations between the races. Washington uses the phrase “feel the need” to communicate the immediate ways in which the training Tuskegee provides can benefit most communities by providing much needed objects like bricks, houses, and wagons, while in comparison, “analysis of Greek sentences,” fails to invoke the same immediacy or necessity. The implication is that though it might be a worthy endeavor to analyze Greek sentences, it likely won’t do much good for many people beyond oneself. Whereas the education in and application of practical skills can not only provide one with entry into a community, but can make him indispensable to it.