John K. Severn


"It was merely an incident that had no thought or motive behind it except the convenience of the President.“ Thus did Booker T. Washington, president of Tuskegee Institute in Alabama and the most influential black leader in America, later describe a dinner he attended as the guest of President Theodore Roosevelt in the White House on the evening of October 16, 1901. The Negro educator’s account was too subdued an estimate of what became a cause célèbre with ramifications that were racial, social, political, and sectional. In the furor that followed the dinner party, citizens of Florida played a part.