“Synopsis of, Nathan B. Young: Florida A&M College’s Second President and his Relationship with White Public Officials” This article on Nathan B. Young and his presidency was very informative not only to history students but also to the students of the present day Florida A&M University. It is good to know the history of the leadership and upcoming of such a great institution as ours. This article also taught of the influence and control that whites had over our black institution and lives.
Nathan Young, the second president of our great school, had a long and prosperous tenure; however, it as due to the connections that he had with Booker T. Washington and William Sheats, both were strong political leaders in the south. Even though Booker T. Washington was an African American, he proved himself to whites that he was just as intelligent and that a black man could serve in a great position such as his. He had his ways of doing so. Some blacks referred to Booker T. Washington as an “Uncle Tom”.
Others say he was just a great politician who knew how to use his political power of persuasion to get what he wanted. On the same hand, William Sheats was a white politician. Not only was he a white politician but he also held high positions in the field of education for over 25 years. He was a principal and also a superintendent of schools. He worked alongside with the Governor and the officials who made all of the major decisions regarding education in Florida. Even though Booker T.
Washington and William Sheats were not on the same side and had the same thoughts on education, they were still both power influencers. Nathan B. Young had a good relationship with both individuals and that s how his reign started at the FSNIS. Nathan B. Young had a lot of conections with high politicians and educators in the south. In beig a former teacher in Alabama, he had his connections with W. E. B DuBoise. With three of the most powerful leaders in education and politics, Young had no choice but to succeed.
Young did many great things in his tenure as president such as, change the name of the school from FSNIS to Florida Agricultural and Mechanical College and instituted the alma matter that we still use today. Nathan B. Young’s reign as the president of Florida A&M College came to an end when he literally lost all of his connection to the white politicians who kept him in office for almost 20 years. Young and Washington started to fall out because they had different methods of teaching.
The two began to get distant and speak their mind about each other. Also, William Sheats died, and that was Young’s primary connection with the white politicians in Florida such as the Governor. As many people may not like what was going on back in this time, this was the defacto (just the way things are) of this time period. In order for a black man to succeed, he had to have the support of white officials. Once this support runs out then you have no other way to continue to reign. Blacks only had as much power as the white man gave them.