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Born into slavery in , Booker T. Washington overcame staggering obstacles to lead emancipated blacks into a quiet revolution against illiteracy and.
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Government Printing Office. Stephen Mansfield. Nashville, TN: Cumberland House. Basil Mathews. Washington: Educator and Interracial Interpreter. Harvard University Press.

August Meier. University of Michigan Press. Jacqueline M. Washington, W. Du Bois, and the Struggle for Racial Uplift. Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources. Wilson Jeremiah Moses. Du Bois, and Marcus Garvey.


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Cambridge University Press. Robert J. Cambridge: Belknap Press. John Perry. Unshakable Faith: Booker T.

Sisters, OR: Multnomah Publishers. Benjamin Franklin Riley. The Life and Times of Booker T. New York and Chicago: Fleming H. Raymond Smock. Chicago: Ivan R. Samuel R. Washington and the Negro's Place in American life. New York: HarperCollins. Ruth Ann Stewart. Garden City, NY: Doubleday. Washington: Builder of a Civilization. Emma Lou Thornbrough. Kevern Verney. The Art of the Possible: Booker T.

Related books and articles

Washington and Black Leadership in the United States, New York: Routledge. Lee H. Washington: A Re-Examination. Chicago: Heartland Institute. Up from Slavery: An Autobiography.

Hampton Institute and Booker T. Washington | Virginia Museum of History & Culture

Toronto: W. Bernard A. New York: New American Library. Michael Rudolph West. The school's founder and headmaster, General Samuel C. Armstrong, soon discovered the hardworking Washington and offered him a scholarship, sponsored by a white man. Armstrong had been a commander of a Union African-American regiment during the Civil War and was a strong supporter of providing newly freed slaves with a practical education. Armstrong became Washington's mentor, strengthening his values of hard work and strong moral character. Booker T. Washington graduated from Hampton in with high marks. In , he was chosen to speak at Hampton's graduation ceremonies, where afterward General Armstrong offered Washington a job teaching at Hampton.

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General Armstrong was asked to recommend a white man to run the school, but instead recommended Booker T. Classes were first held in an old church, while Washington traveled all over the countryside promoting the school and raising money. He reassured whites that nothing in the Tuskegee program would threaten white supremacy or pose any economic competition to whites. Under Booker T.

Washington's leadership, Tuskegee became a leading school in the country.

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Washington put much of himself into the school's curriculum, stressing the virtues of patience, enterprise, and thrift. He taught that economic success for African Americans would take time, and that subordination to whites was a necessary evil until African Americans could prove they were worthy of full economic and political rights. He believed that if African Americans worked hard and obtained financial independence and cultural advancement, they would eventually win acceptance and respect from the white community.

Washington publicly put forth his philosophy on race relations in a speech at the Cotton States and International Exposition in Atlanta, Georgia, known as the "Atlanta Compromise. This started a firestorm in parts of the African-American community, especially in the North.


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Activists like W. Du Bois who was working as a professor at Atlanta University at the time deplored Washington's conciliatory philosophy and his belief that African Americans were only suited to vocational training. Du Bois criticized Washington for not demanding equality for African Americans, as granted by the 14th Amendment , and subsequently became an advocate for full and equal rights in every realm of a person's life.

Though Washington had done much to help advance many African Americans, there was some truth in the criticism. During Washington's rise as a national spokesperson for African Americans, they were systematically excluded from the vote and political participation through black codes and Jim Crow laws as rigid patterns of segregation and discrimination became institutionalized throughout the South and much of the country. Washington to the White House, making him the first African American to be so honored. But the fact that Roosevelt asked Washington to dine with him inferring the two were equal was unprecedented and controversial, causing an ferocious uproar among whites.

Out of Our Past: Booker T. Washington spoke at Richmond 'Chautauqua' in 1914

Both President Roosevelt and his successor, President William Howard Taft , used Washington as an adviser on racial matters, partly because he accepted racial subservience. His White House visit and the publication of his autobiography, Up from Slavery , brought him both acclaim and indignation from many Americans.


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While some African Americans looked upon Washington as a hero, others, like Du Bois, saw him as a traitor.