New SAT Reading Practice Test 97: Atlanta Exposition Speech

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Question 11 questions

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Below is an excerpt adapted from Booker T. Washington's notable "Atlanta Exposition Speech" in 1895. The second is part of a 1903 response, titled "Of Mr. Booker T. Washington and Others," by W.E.B. DuBois. (As historical texts, these use antiquated language.)


Our greatest danger is, that in the great
leap from slavery to freedom we may overlook
the fact that the masses of us are to live
by the productions of our hands, and fail to
05keep in mind that we shall prosper in proportion
as we learn to dignify and glorify common
labor and put brains and skill into the
common occupations of life… No race can
prosper till it learns that there is as much dignity
10in tilling a field as in writing a poem. It is
at the bottom of life we must begin and not
the top. Nor should we permit our grievances
to overshadow our opportunities.
To those of the white race who look to
15the incoming of those of foreign birth and
strange tongue and habits for the prosperity
of the South, were I permitted, I would repeat
what I say to my own race. "Cast down your
bucket where you are." Cast it down among
20the 8,000,000 Negroes whose habits you
know, whose loyalty and love you have tested
in days when to have proved treacherous
[meant] the ruin of your firesides.
25While doing this you can be sure in the
future, as you have been in the past, that
you and your families will be surrounded by
the most patient, faithful, law-abiding and
unresentful people that the world has seen.
30As we have proven our loyalty to you in the
past, in nursing your children, watching by
the sick bed of your mothers and fathers, and
often following them with tear dimmed eyes
to their graves, so in the future in our humble
35way, we shall stand by you with a devotion
that no foreigner can approach, ready to
lay down our lives, if need be, in defense of
yours, interlacing our industrial, commercial,
civil and religious life with yours in a way that
40shall make the interests of both races one. In
all things that are purely social we can be as
separate as the fingers, yet one as the hand in
all things essential to mutual progress.


… Booker T. Washington arose as essentially
45the leader not of one race but of
two—a compromiser between the South, the
North, and the Negro. Naturally the Negroes
resented, at first bitterly, signs of compromise
which surrendered their civil and political
50rights, even though this was to be exchanged
for larger chances of economic development.
The rich and dominating North, however,
was not only weary of the race problem, but
was investing largely in Southern enterprises,
55and welcomed any method of peaceful
cooperation. Thus, by national opinion, the
Negroes began to recognize Mr. Washington's
leadership; and the voice of criticism was
60Mr. Washington represents in Negro
thought the old attitude of adjustment and
submission, but adjustment at such a peculiar
time as to make his programme unique.
This is an age of unusual economic development,
65and Mr. Washington's programme
naturally takes an economic cast, becoming a
gospel of work and money to such an extent
as apparently almost completely to overshadow
the higher aims of life. Moreover, this
70is an age when the more advanced races are
coming in closer contact with the less developed
races, and the race-feeling is therefore
intensified; and Mr. Washington's programme
practically accepts the alleged inferiority
75of the Negro races. Again, in our own land,
the reaction from the sentiment of war time
has given impetus to race prejudice against
Negroes, and Mr. Washington withdraws
many of the high demands of Negroes as
80men and American citizens. In other periods
of intensified prejudice all the Negro's
tendency to self-assertion has been called
forth; at this period a policy of submission is
Mr. Washington distinctly asks that black
people give up, at least for the present, three
things—First, political power, Second, insistence
on civil rights, Third, higher education
90of Negro youth—and concentrate all their
energies on industrial education, the accumulation
of wealth, and the conciliation of
the South.

1. As used in line 8, the word "common" most closely means

  • A. shared.
  • B. public.
  • C. ordinary.
  • D. universal.

2. Lines 14-17 most precisely refer to

  • A. invaders.
  • B. foreigners.
  • C. immigrants.
  • D. travelers.

3. The general purpose of the paragraph in lines 25-43 is to argue in favor of

  • A. foreign hostility coupled with a strong defense.
  • B. immigration restrictions coupled with educational opportunities.
  • C. national unity coupled with racial separation.
  • D. ethnic loyalty coupled with better care for the sick.

4. Lines 52-56 most strongly imply that the North was most concerned with

  • A. ethical considerations.
  • B. commercial advancement.
  • C. religious truth.
  • D. geographical awareness.

5. Passage 2 most strongly suggests that Washington encourages African-Americans to

  • A. fight for universal equality between the races.
  • B. settle for less than they rightfully should.
  • C. ignore economic goals in favor of moral ones.
  • D. deceive others with respect to their true loyalties.

6. Which option gives the best evidence for the answer to the previous question?

  • A. Lines 47-51 ("Naturally . . . development")
  • B. Lines 56-59 ("Thus . . . hushed")
  • C. Lines 69-73 ("Moreover . . . intensified")
  • D. Lines 78-84 ("Mr. . . . advocated")

7. As used in line 66, the word "cast" most closely means

  • A. event.
  • B. constraint.
  • C. throw.
  • D. direction.

8. Which sentence best summarizes the relationship between the passages?

  • A. Passage 1 advocates a course of action that Passage 2 expresses as insufficient.
  • B. Passage 1 presents empirical data that Passage 2 attempts to refute.
  • C. Passage 1 argues against the eventual goals laid out in Passage 2.
  • D. Passage 1 is more idealistic while Passage 2 is more pragmatic.

9. Based on the passages, what Washington would most likely define as African-American "compromise," Dubois would most likely define as

  • A. obedience.
  • B. negotiation.
  • C. treason.
  • D. persistence.

10. Which option gives the best evidence for the answer to the previous question?

  • A. Lines 14-18 ("To . . . race")
  • B. Lines 25-29 ("While . . . seen")
  • C. Lines 44-47 ("Booker . . . Negro")
  • D. Lines 60-63 ("Mr. . . . unique")

11. Which selection from Passage 1 gives the most direct response to the last paragraph of Passage 2 (lines 86-93)?

  • A. Lines 8-13 ("No race . . . opportunities")
  • B. Lines 19-23 ("Cast it . . . firesides")
  • C. Lines 30-32 ("As we . . . fathers")
  • D. Lines 40-43 ("In all . . . progress")