Booker T Washington

Better Essays
Booker T.Washington: Fighter for the Black Man

Booker T. Washington was a man beyond words. His perseverance and will to work were well known throughout the United States. He rose from slavery, delivering speech after speech expressing his views on how to uplift America's view of the Negro. He felt that knowledge was power, not just knowledge of "books", but knowledge of agricultural and industrial trades. He felt that the Negro would rise to be an equal in American society through hard work. Washington founded a school on these principles, and it became the world's leader in agricultural and industrial education for the Negro. As the world watched him put his heart and soul into his school, Tuskegee Institute, he gained great respect from both the white and black communities. Many of the country's white leaders agreed with his principals, and so he had a great deal of support. Booker T. Washington was a great man. He put his own needs aside in order to build the reputation of an entire race. He didn't do it by accusing and putting blame on others, but instead through hard work. Booker T. Washington cleared the way for the black community to fully enter the American society.
Washington was born into slavery on April 5, 1856, in Franklin County, Virginia, on a small tobacco plantation. His only true relative was his mother, Jane, who was the plantation's cook. His father was probably the white son of one of the neighbors, though it is not known for sure. Washington spent his childhood years on the plantation, but since he was so young he never had to do the heavy work. He did the small jobs, such as carrying water to the field hands and taking corn to the local mill for grinding. This hard work at an early age instilled in him the values he would teach for the rest of his life.
When the Civil War ended in April of 1863, Washington and his mom were set free. Unlike most of the other slaves, Washington had somewhere to go. His step-father had escaped earlier, and had gotten a job in Malden, West Virginia, at a salt furnace. When the war ended, he sent for Washington and his mom. Life was tough in Malden. "Drinking, gambling, quarrels, fights, and shockingly immoral practices were frequent." Washington himself got a job in the salt furnace and often had to go to work at four in the morning.
Washington longed for an education. A schoo...

... middle of paper ...

...ust make economic progress, and learn how to make a living first.
In order to raise funds for the school, Washington traveled all over the country, giving hundreds of speeches expressing his ideas and explaining his program at the school. He became known nationally because of these speeches, which led to many contributors such as Andrew Carnagie, John Rockefellar, and Collis Huntington.
As for Tuskegee Institute, its success was beyond Washington's wildest dreams. At the time of Washington's death, 34 years after its founding, the school property included 2,345 acres and 107 buildings, with nearly 200 faculty members and more than 1,500 students. Tuskegee Institute had become the world's leader in agricultural and industrial education for the Negro.
Booker's spirit and name live on long after his death. He is remembered and admired for his struggle for the black man. Tuskegee Institute still exists today and is quite well off, with over 3,250 students, about 5,000 acres, and an annual budget of $75 million. Booker T. Washington is a wonderful example that even if you came from nothing, you can accomplish great things if you try hard enough and are willing to make the sacrifice.
Get Access