Biography of Booker T Washington
Booker T. Washington, born on April fifth, 1856, was born into slavery on the Burroughs’ tobacco farm. His mother was a cook, and his father was a white man from a nearby farm. Despite the small size of the farm Washington always referred to it as a plantation, and his life was not much different from any other slave on the larger plantations. “The early years of my life, which were spent in the little cabin, were not very different from those of other slaves” (Awakening).
As a child he was able to go to school but not in the traditional sense, since at the time it was illegal to educate a slave, he went to school carrying the books of the slave masters daughter, which didn't matter to Washington, he was getting an education by any means necessary. "I had the feeling that to get into a schoolhouse and study would be about the same as getting into paradise," (Industrial).
At the age of ten (1865) the Emancipation Proclamation declared that slavery had been abolished and soon after his family moved to his stepfather’s home in Malden, West Virginia. At his stepfather’s house Washington had taken a job at a salt mine that began at 4 A.M., so Washington could take advantage of his new found privilege to schooling. By the time he reached the ripe old age of sixteen he was working as a houseboy to a wealthy woman who encouraged his need to learn. In this same year he walked much of a 500 mile journey back to Virginia to take become educated at Hampton Institute, he was admitted to the Institute by much surprise, by cleaning the head teacher’s room.
To afford this new schooling Washington was back to slave-like tasks for a living but was well on his way to a prosperous life. After his initial schooling at the Institute he became an instructor and the principal, then he studied at Wayland Seminary. Another mark in his educational career was opening the Tuskegee Institute with $2,000 acquired from a grant from the Alabama legislature. Started in a shanty type building with only thirty or so students, the institute expanded to a 100-acre farm to support the school. Each student could work his way through school by working and maintaining the farm.
Since Washington has graduated from the Institute he had become influential for the racial equality movement; although Washington was criticized for his methodology as being too conservative. Washington believed that dedicated work and not being a threat would be the only way for his race achieve social equality. Much of his thoughts were expressed in his Atlanta Compromise speech.
Booker T. Washington wrote to advance the black man in a well-rounded manner. He wanted to uplift the man to a...