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Booker T. Washington

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❶Booker Taliaferro was born a slave on 5 April, possibly in the year , near Hale's Ford in Franklin County, Virginia, in a ramshackle one-room cabin on a tobacco farm owned by James Burroughs.

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Booker T. Washington
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Booker T. Washington Papers Volume 1

Americans love a success story, particularly one that seems to represent their I have cheerfully consented to prefix a few words introductory to this autobiography. While I have encouraged its publication, not a sentence has been submitted to my examination. From my intimate acquaintance with the subject, because of my connection with the Peabody and the Slater Education Funds, I am sure the volume has such a strong claim upon the people that no commendation is needed.

The life of Booker T. Washington cannot be written. Incidents of birth, parentage, schooling, early struggles, later triumphs, may be detailed with accuracy, but the life has been so incorporated, transfused, into such a multitude Many requests have been made of me to write something of the story of my life.

Until recently I have never given much consideration to these requests, for the reason that I have never thought that I had done enough in the world to warrant anything in the way of an autobiography; and I hope that my life work, by reason of my present age, lies more in the future than in the past. My daughter, Portia, said to me, not long ago: We began life in West Virginia in a little shanty, and lived in it for several years.

My step-father soon obtained work for my brother John and myself in the salt furnaces and coal mines, and we worked alternately in them until about the year Soon after we reached West Virginia a school teacher, Mr. William Davis, came into the community, and the colored people induced him to open a school.

My step-father was not able to spare me from work, so that I could attend this school, when it was first opened, and this proved a sore disappointment After my mother and brother John had secured me a few extra garments, with what I could provide for myself, I started for Hampton about the first of October, How long I was on this journey I have at this time no very definite idea.

Part of the way I went by railroad and part in a stage and part on foot. I remember that, when I got as far as Richmond, Virginia, I was completely out of money and knew not a single person in the city. Besides, I had never been in a city before. In the fall of I returned to Malden and was elected as the teacher in the school at Malden, the first school that I ever attended.

I taught this school for three years. The thing that I recall most pleasantly in connection with my teaching was the fact that I induced several of my pupils to go to Hampton and most of them have become strong and useful men.

One of them, Dr. Courtney, is now a successful physician in Boston and a member of the Boston Board of Education. While teaching I insisted that each pupil Before starting for Tuskegee I found it almost impossible to find the town on any map, and had difficulty in learning its exact location. I reached Tuskegee about the middle of June, The county in which Tuskegee is located is named Macon. After the school had been in session in the old church and little shanty for several months, I began to see the necessity of having a permanent location for the institution, where we could have the students not only in their class rooms, but get hold of them in their home life, and teach them how to take care of their bodies in the matter of bathing, care of the teeth, and in general cleanliness.

We also felt that we must not only teach the students how to prepare their food but how to serve and eat it properly. Soon after securing possession of the farm we set about putting it into a condition so that a crop of some kind might be secured from it during the next year. At the close of school hours each afternoon, I would call for volunteers to take their axes and go into the woods to assist in clearing up the grounds.

The students were most anxious to give their service in this way, and very soon a large acreage was put into condition for cultivation. We had no horse or mule with which to begin the cultivation of the farm. From to , while comparatively little was heard of the school in the public press, yet that was a period of constant and solid growth.

In the enrollment was In the enrollment had increased to , and 54 officers and teachers were employed. Besides the growth in the number of students and instructors, there had also been quite an increase in the number of buildings, and in every way the students were made more comfortable in their surroundings.

By we had upon the school grounds 30 buildings of various kinds and sizes, practically all built In the spring of I was rather pleasantly surprised by receiving an invitation from the Fisk University Lecture Bureau, in Nashville, Tennessee, to deliver a lecture before this Bureau. Edgar Webber was the president and presided at the meeting when I spoke. This was among the first addresses which I had delivered in the South that was fully reported by the Southern press. A full description of the meeting was given by the Nashville Daily American and the Nashville Banner , and papers throughout many portions of the South contained editorials based upon this address.

It was also my So much has been said and written concerning the address which I delivered at the opening of the Atlanta Exposition in September, , that it may not be out of place for me to explain in some detail how and why I received the invitation to deliver this address. In the spring of I received a telegram at Tuskegee from prominent citizens in Atlanta asking me to accompany a committee composed of Atlanta people—all white, I think, except Bishop Gaines and Bishop Grant—to Washington to appear before the Committee on Appropriations for the purpose of inducing Congress While the Atlanta Exposition was in progress, the State Constitutional Convention of South Carolina was in session, having been convened for the specific purpose of passing a law that would result in disfranchising the greater proportion of the Negro voters.

While this Convention was in session, I addressed an open letter to Senator Benj. Tillman of South Carolina, which read as follows:. I am no politician. I never made a political speech, and do not know as I ever shall make one, so it is not on a political subject that I address you. I was born a slave; you One of the most helpful things accomplished during the year was an exhibit of the industrial products of the Tuskegee Institute made in New York City, Boston and Philadelphia, in connection with a similar exhibit from the Hampton Institute.

A large number of people who had no idea of the extent of our industrial work had an opportunity at these exhibits to see for themselves just what was being done by Hampton and Tuskegee. Our industrial exhibit included wagons, carriages and wearing apparel of all Soon after the election of Major McKinley to the office of President in , the Washington Post , to the surprise of nearly everybody, came out with a strong editorial urging the President-Elect to give me a place in his cabinet. The name of the late Hon.

Bruce was also suggested in the same connection. This editorial created quite a journalistic discussion which extended to all parts of the country. I give a few extracts from newspapers that may indicate the character of this discussion. In the spring of I received a letter from Hon. Edward Atkinson, of Boston, inviting me to deliver an address at the dedication of the Robert Gould Shaw monument in Boston. I take it for granted that my readers already know all about the history and achievements of Robert Gould Shaw.

The meeting in connection with the dedicatory exercises was held in Music Hall, Boston, which was Immediately after the close of the Spanish-American war the Tuskegee Institute started a movement to bring a number of Cuban and Porto Rican students to Tuskegee, for the purpose of receiving training.

The idea was pretty generally endorsed, and within a reasonably short time enough funds were donated by individuals throughout the country to provide for the education of ten students from Cuba and Porto Rico. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs.

Washington, and many others Frederick Douglass. The most miserable are those who do the least. The members of this class had little ambition to create a position for themselves, but wanted the federal officials to create one for them. How many times I wished then and have often wished since, that by some power of magic, I might remove the great bulk of these people into the country districts and plant them upon the soil — upon the solid and never deceptive foundation of Mother Nature, where all nations and races that have ever succeeded have gotten their start — a start that at first may be slow and toilsome, but one that nevertheless is real.

If he is right, time will show it. Washington also speaks about the African-American clergy. He also makes a much disputed statement about voting: I think that the according of the full exercise of political rights is going to be a matter of natural, slow growth, not an over-night, gourd-vine affair.

I do not believe that the Negro should cease voting…but I do believe that in his voting he should more and more be influenced by those of intelligence and character who are his next-door neighbors…I do not believe that any state should make a law that permits an ignorant and poverty-stricken white man to vote, and prevents a black man in the same condition from voting.

Such a law is not only unjust, but it will react, as all unjust laws do, in time; for the effect of such a law is to encourage the Negro to secure education and property. I believe that in time, through the operation of intelligence and friendly race relations, all cheating at the ballot box in the South will cease. Washington speaks again of the reception of his Atlanta Exposition Speech. He then goes on to give the reader some advice about public speaking and describes several memorable speeches.

The author is married a third time, to Margaret James Murray. He speaks about his children. At this time, he and his wife are offered the opportunity to travel to Europe. Mixed emotions influenced their decision to go: Washington had always dreamed of traveling to Europe, but he feared the reaction of the people, for so many times had he seen individuals of his race achieve success and then turned away from the people.

Washington enjoyed their trip, especially upon seeing their friend, Henry Tanner , an African-American artist, being praised by all classes. During their time abroad, the couple was also able to take tea with both Queen Victoria and Susan B. Washington describes his last interactions with General Armstrong and his first with Armstrong's successor, Rev. The greatest surprise of his life was being invited to receive an honorary degree from Harvard University , the first awarded to an African American.

Another great honor for Washington and Tuskegee was the visit of President William McKinley to the institute, an act which McKinley hoped to impress upon citizens his "interest and faith in the race. The America of the s and s was one of white hostility toward African Americans.

There was also the belief that the African American race would not have been able to survive without the institution of slavery. Popular culture played in to the ideas of "black criminality and moral decline" as can be seen in the characters Jim Crow and Zip Coon. When Washington began his writing and public speaking, he was fighting the notion that African Americans were inherently stupid and incapable of civilization.

Washington's primary goal was to impress upon the audience the possibility of progress. Furthermore, living in the Black Belt, Booker T. Washington was vulnerable to mob violence and was, therefore, always mindful not to provoke the mob.

As would be expected for a man in such precarious position, when violence erupted, he tried to stem his talk of equality and progress so as not to exacerbate the situation. Lynching in the South at this time was prevalent as mobs of whites would take the law into their own hands and would torture and murder of dozens of men and women, including white men. The offenses of the victims included: In , Reverend Quincy Ewing of Mississippi charged the press and pulpit with uniting public sentiment against lynching.

Lynching would continue into the s and s. Some blame Washington's comparatively sheepish message upon a lack of desire for true African-American uplift. But for some, taking into account the environment in which he was delivering his message, support Washington for making any public stance at all.

His strategy of garnering sympathy and speaking realistically, encouraged many in staunch opposition to consider the possibility of civil rights and liberties.

Washington's] book is full of practical wisdom and sound common sense. It may be read with profit by white and black alike. Washington as both an "accommodationist and calculating realist seeking to carve out a viable strategy for black struggle amidst the nadir of race relations in the United States. Most critiques of him target his accommodationism, yet his private life was very much aimed at opposition through funding. The Atlanta Exposition speech shows his dual nature, giving everyone present something to agree with, no matter their intention.

Washington deserves praise for "seeking to be all things to all men in a multifaceted society. Having conditions forced on him, with threat of destruction clearly the cost of resistance, does not constitute a fair definition of accommodation. DuBois initially applauded Washington's stance on racial uplift, at one point he went as far as to say of the Atlanta Exposition speech: He also acknowledges the unstable situation in the south and the necessity for sensitivity to community feelings, yet he believes that Washington has failed in his sensitivity to African Americans.

DuBois asserts that there are many educated and successful African Americans who would criticize the work of Washington, but they are being hushed in such a way as to impede "democracy and the safeguard of modern society.

In , the Niagara Movement issued a statement enumerating their demands against oppression and for civil rights. The Movement established itself as an entity entirely removed from Washington in conciliation, but rather a new, more radical course of action: Of course there were other participants in this discussion of the future of the African-American race, including that of W.

Thomas, another African-American man. Thomas believed that African Americans were "deplorably bad" and that it would require a "miracle" to make any sort of progress. In some respects, it is hard to compare the two as each has different intentions. Similarly, Thomas Dixon , author of The Clansman , began a newspaper controversy with Washington over the industrial system, most likely to encourage talk of his upcoming book.

He characterized the newfound independence of Tuskegee graduates as inciting competition: What will the [southern white man] do when put to the test? He will do exactly what his white neighbor in the North does when the Negro threatens his bread—kill him! The minute series is distributed by Mill Creek Entertainment. This series is not directly about the Booker T.

Washington autobiography Up From Slavery , but tells the story of Black Slavery in America from the first arrival of African slaves at Jamestown in to the Civil War and the ratification of the 15th Amendment in , which prohibits the government from denying a citizen the vote based on race, color, or previous condition of servitude i. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

By country or region. This section is a candidate to be copied to Wikiquote using the Transwiki process. The first chapter came out on November 3, , and the last on February 23, , through The Outlook.

Washington and Up from Slavery. Washington and Black Progress: Up From Slavery Years Later.


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Books by Dr. Washington. Booker T. Washington wrote fourteen books and countless newspaper and magazine articles, and delivered thousands of speeches during a 20 year period () that historians call "the Booker T. Washington Era."Following are about half of Dr. Washington's books, along with several of his articles, letters and .

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Booker T. Washington. Biography of Booker T. Washington and a searchable collection of works.

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Born a slave, Booker T. Washington became one of the most celebrated educators and orators in the world. Find out more about his life and work in this video. writing letters in code names and. Watch video · Read about the life of African-American leader and Tuskegee Institute founder Booker T. Washington, at in tilling a field as in writing a poem.” Booker Taliaferro.

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The autobiographical writings of Booker T. Washington are a good beginning toward understanding the life and thought of this black leader. They provide a biographical introduction to an edition of his letters and other writings, and they present him as he wished to be seen by the world, as the. Washington, Booker T. One of the most influential (and controversial) African Americans in history, Booker T. Washington () was raised the son of a slave mother. The Booker T. Washington Papers on the History Cooperative Web site contains a complete set of searchable writings of Booker T. Washington originally published by .