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Up From Slavery

By Booker T. Washington

About This Book

      ... I was born a slave on a plantation in Franklin County, Virginia. I am not quite sure of the exact place or exact date of my birth, but at any rate I suspect I must have been born somewhere and at some time. As nearly as I have been able to learn, I was born near a cross-roads post-office called Hale's Ford, and the year was 1858 or 1859. I do not know . . .

About Booker T. Washington

         Born a slave hut and into utmost poverty, Booker Taliaferro Washington received little schooling as a child. But his determination to learn led him at age 16 to Hampton Virginia to attend school at the Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute, meanwhile working as a janitor to defray the expenses of his education. After his graduation he taught for several years, and in 1881 he was chosen to establish and head The Tuskeegee Institute, in Alabama.
          This famous school became his life's work, and he made its name a watchword for black achievement — at a time when many were still arguing that former slaves could not learn and needed no education at all. A brilliant speaker and thinker, Washington was a champion of education and self-sufficiency. He impressed senators and presidents, educators and businessmen, and in his middle years and later life he was honored and sought after throughout the U.S. He received honorary degrees from both Dartmouth college and Harvard university. He established numerous organizations and published many articles and two books, of which Up from Slavery, the first, is the story of his youth and manhood. He died at Tuskeegee at the age of 59.


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