Booker T. Washington

1430 Words6 Pages
Equality Through Knowledge'; an essay on the views of Booker T. Washington Born a slave, Booker T. Washington rose to become a commonly recognized leader of the Negro race in America. Washington continually strove to be successful and to show other black men and women how they too could raise themselves. Washington’s method of uplifting was education of the head, the hand, and the heart. From his founding of the Tuskegee Institute in 1881 to his death in 1915 Booker T. Washington exerted a tremendous influence on the people that surrounded him. With his emphasis on industrial education Washington’s approach gave African-Americans hope of accomplishment and success. Growing up in Franklin County, Virginia, Booker was a young slave living on a plantation in a cold, dismal cabin with his mother being the plantation cook. He struggled through the hardships not unlike all the other slaves in the country. Booker T. Washington did not know his own father, which sounds very terrible, but was nothing unusual to young children of enslaved mothers. However Booker’s thoughts and feelings were different from what you’d suspect. Booker states, “ I do not find especial fault with him (his father). He was simply another unfortunate victim of the institution which the Nation unhappily had engrafted upon it at the time.';(4) Booker T. Washington was engulfed in labor throughout his adolescence and young boyhood days, joining his step-father in working in salt furnaces and coal-mines after the civil war. Of course the labor force in this country was predominately slaves, and after the civil war black people were paid little money to do some of the same work. The whole machinery of slavery was constructed as to cause labor, as a rule, to be looked upon as a sign of degradation and inferiority. The slave system took the spirit of self-reliance and self-help out of white people. Again, Booker T. Washington’s thoughts about the labor of black people differ from a traditional view. Washington feels that many white boys and girls never mastered a single trade or special line of productive industry. All the cooking, cleaning, everything was done by slaves, so when freedom came blacks were well off to begin a life of their own. ... ... middle of paper ... ...ift, the dignity of labor, and provide a strong moral backbone. Booker T. Washington had visions of equality for the black and white race, but his visions were somewhat different from that of the norm. He wanted to build up the black race slowly, knowing that equality was not to be achieved overnight. He taught blacks the power of knowledge and hard work to which they could gain a respect from their former masters of this country, and prove to them that they could live together and help out each other. He didn’t want to be better than the white man, he didn’t even dislike the white man, he just wanted to prove to the white man that a black man can have just as good of a heart. Washington took the positive factors out of everything in life, whether good or bad, and paved the way for a non-segregated country. He has no remorse for anything that has happened to his race, infect he says it best when he states, “Ever since I have been old enough to think for myself, I have entertained the idea that, notwithstanding the cruel wrongs inflicted upon us, the black man got nearly as much out of slavery as the white man did.';(13)

More about Booker T. Washington

Open Document