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Booker T. Washington And His Work For Civil Rights

608 words - 2 pages

Booker T. Washington has been a most controversial figure in the fight for civilrights since his rise to fame in the late 1800's. Many who knew him believed that he wasa straightforward man, and he was admired as a genuine hero to black Americans. In hislater years he earned several nicknames, including the Sage of Tuskegee and the Wizardof the Tuskegee Machine.Washington was born heard rumors about his father being a white man. Thesoon-to-be-famous civil rights leader grew up in a cabin with an earthen floor and a slavein Franklin City, Virginia in 1858 or 1859. Although he has researched his history, he hasonly holes in the walls for windows. He and his brother and sister slept on a pile of ragstheir mother had arranged on the dirt. Booker was not allowed in school for his color, andthe closest he came at the time was walking his Masters' daughters to carry their books.When Washington was finally allowed in an all black school, he thirsted forknowledge. At about eighteen years old, he learned of an all black college called theHampton Institute, and was desperate to attend. He worked several jobs just for travelingmoney, and when he arrived in Virginia, did custodial work at the school to pay for hisroom and tuition. Booker graduated in June on 1875 with high honors. Upon his return tohis hometown, he was elected to teach a colored school and soon began night school andSunday school classes.Around this time, the Ku Klux Klan was near the height of its activity.Washington realized it was their mission to crush Negro aspirations of participating inpolitics, though they were more cruel than most. Several churches and schools wereburned, and innocent blacks were beaten, tortured, and killed. Washington nearly enteredpolitics, but thought he could make a difference in education. In May of 1881, he took anopportunity to teach at a school for blacks in Tuskegee,...

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