Memorable Quotations from Booker T. Washington

Book Cover

By Jim Dell


Memorable Quotations from Booker T. Washington
(Kindle Book at Amazon)

Booker T. Washington (1856-1915) was an American educator, who implored blacks to endeavor to elevate themselves through educational achievements and economic improvement. The son of a slave, Washington was born on a plantation in Franklin County, Virginia. After the American Civil War, his family moved to Malden, West Virginia, where he labored in a salt furnace and in coal mines, going to school whenever he could. He attended a newly-founded school for blacks, Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute (now Hampton University) from 1872 to 1875. After graduation he taught school in Malden and then studied at Wayland Seminary in Washington, D.C. Afterwards, he became a teacher at Hampton Institute, where he helped to establish a night school and was in charge of the industrial instruction of 75 Native Americans. The school was so effective that in 1881 the founder of Hampton Institute, General Samuel Chapman Armstrong, selected Washington as coordinator and principal of a black normal school in Tuskegee, Alabama (now Tuskegee University). Booker T. Washington made the institute into a key facility for industrial and agricultural training and in the process became a celebrated public speaker. On September 18, 1895, in Atlanta, Georgia, Washington made his famous compromise speech. In this address he urged blacks to acknowledge their inferior social position for the present and to endeavor to better themselves through vocational training and economic self-sufficiency. Numerous whites, gratified by his assessments, and many blacks, impressed by his esteem, acknowledged Washington as the leading spokesperson of the American blacks. Washington founded several organizations, including the National Negro Business League, to further black advancement. Among his books are The Future of the American Negro (1899), the autobiography Up from Slavery (1901), Life of Frederick Douglass (1907), The Story of the Negro (1909), and My Larger Education (1911). The site of the plantation where Washington was born is now a national monument.



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