"In design, beauty, and general finish the Negro Building was equal to the others on the grounds" (Washington, Two Thousand Miles for a Five Minute Speech para. 24)
This was said by Booker T. Washington, after the Atlanta Exposition was passed and the Negro monument building was built.
I just find it a little funny that he chose to say that the building was equal in design, beauty and finish to other buildings around it. It almost sounds as if he was surprised that the building was equal because it was built by "Negro mechanics."
Also, taking it to a more figurative sense, if the building represented the Negro community, Booker T. Washington's words are even more resounding. Of course he would point out that the building was equal, because his ideals of education and hard work went hand in hand. Now that African Americans were becoming educated, their work was seen as equal to that of White Americans. Washington even goes on to say that, "The people who seemed to be the most surprised, as well as pleased, at what they saw in the Negro Building were the Southern white people" (para. 25).
All of his traveling, speeches and lobbying were finally paying off. I believe Washington said these words not in surprise, but in realization that his community was actually beginning to be seen as equal, even if it was simply in the structure of a building.