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Booker T. Washington needed to make a statement to both the North and South. The Southern Cotton industry felt that inviting a black speaker would impress that racial progress was happening in the South. Washington speech was important because it was not full of retribution and hate for the South. The speech actually had a "moving on" tone to it. He also gave some tacit complements to the South. To most of the white audience, this was a progressive black man looking for change without completely destroying, he advocated segregation, the existing social order.