"The early years of my life, which were spent in the little cabin,"
he wrote, "were not very different from those of other slaves."
1. He wanted to help African Americans enter mainstream
white society with the least possible violence and thus
advocated an educational program of vocational rather than
intellectual or professional training.
2. Booker T. Washington did not get his last name until he
entered into school and that's when he adopted the surname
Washington, which was the first name of Washington
Ferguson, a slave who his mother had married.
He doesn't know the day, month or the year that he
Believes that his father may be a Caucasian man,
However he is unsure.
He was deprived of a childhood. There was never a
period devoted to play time during his time of slavery.
He spent most of his time cleaning in the yards,
carrying water to the men in the fields, or going to the
mill, to where he would take the corn.
He always had the desire to get an education from the
time he walked his young mistresses to the
schoolhouse while carrying her books.
From 1865 to 1872 Washington worked as a salt
packer, coal miner, and house servant while
attending school in the off hours.
Graduated from Hampton in 1875 with honors
and certificate to teach in a trade school. He
was hired by Samuel Armstrong to teach in a
program for Native Americans.
Washington success on the education front
was not until 1895 when he gave his speech,
the "Atlanta Compromise.“
In 1891 he became the first principal of what was to become
Tuskegee Institute, a school established by the Alabama
legislature to train African American men and women in
agricultural and mechanical trades and teaching.
Washington success on the education front was not until
1895 when he gave his speech, the "Atlanta Compromise.“
Washington agreed to defer equal rights for African
Americans in return for low-level economic opportunities.
Washington consolidated his position as the "Moses of his
Washington’s writings argue that success should be
measured not so much by the position a person has reached
as by the obstacles overcome while trying to succeed.
As an African American,
Washington was asked to speak at
the 1895 Exposition because he was
an educated black man in society
and it would look good to the
Northern visitors that the South
was making progress post slavery.
It could not be a more appropriate time for
both races to come together to "cement the
friendship of the two races than any occurrence
since the dawn of our occurrence.”
There is a new era of industrial progress where
there is a desire among people to jump straight
to the top instead of working your way up.
It is important for African Americans to
befriend their neighbors of all races who
Also make friends in business and commerce.
And be aware that South African Americans
are "given a man's chance" in the business
world. Not all of us will be successful at a high
level because we still have to produce for
"Must be separate as the fingers, yet one as the
If you come across obstacles only let them
enable you to grow.
African Americans are one-third of the country and
we must stick together.
The past has not been an easy journey and neither
will the future, but we have to take it step by step.
And we have to understand, to reach equality it
will be a struggle on a slow path.
This exposition is just one of the many steps to
friendship between African Americans and Whites.
And I ask the white race to continue with their
progress to bring the South into "a new heaven and
a new earth."
Washington's speech seems to "accept
disenfranchisement and segregation and settle
for a low level of education in exchange for
white 'toleration' and economic cooperation."
Decade of shame and mistreatment of African
Slavery ambolished but African Americans
were still struggling to earn equal rights.
Racial segregation (Jim Crow Laws), pole taxes,
literacy & residence requirements, ballot box
He arrived at Hampton Institute and the lady principal told
him to sweep a room for her. He knew it was a test. He
swept and dusted the room three times until not a speck of
dirt remained. He was accepted into the school. He would
work as the assistant janitor to pay for his room and board
at the school.
Mr. George Campbell, a prominent white man in Tuskegee,
Alabama, wanted to start a school for black children in that
town. General Armstrong recommended Booker for the
position. The state legislature would give $2000 a year for
the school. He started having classes in an old church and a
run-down building. When it rained, one of the taller
students would hold an umbrella over the teacher's head to
keep him dry.
At age 16, he walked from Malden, West
Virginia to Hampton, Virginia to go to college.
Google maps says its a 386 mile trip.
He was the first African-American on a U.S.
postage stamp and even had his face on a
limited-circulation U.S. half dollar.
Washington consolidated his position as the
"Moses of his race.”
Washington was awarded an honorary degree
by Harvard University.