Booker T. Washington's Influence on Historically Black Colleges

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My paper will discuss the continuing influence of Booker T. Washington's writings on historically black colleges. While my paper will focus on the ways in which the historically black college continues to adhere to the model provided by Washington, it will also explore the ways in which it diverges from the early Hampton-Tuskegee ideal. According to James D. Anderson in The Education of Blacks in the South, both contemporary observers and later historians have portrayed the white south as taking a monolithic view of black education. However, many secondary schools in the south did not emphasize the kind of industrial education advocated by Washington. In the same manner, the historically black college no longer places the emphasis on vocational training it did at one time. However, there are still advocates for Washington's model although the training under discussion is in technical fields. Washington's influence can also be found in the importance often placed on action in historically black colleges, such as mine, which can undermine attempts on the part of faculty to pursue a life of the mind. At the same time, stimulating new influences emerging from African-American studies are changing and enhancing the campus culture enriching both students and faculty. My paper will conclude by considering the influence of honors programs as well as multi-ethnic and multi-cultural student bodies and faculties on the future directions of the historically black college.


The freedmen and women of the Ante-Bellum South had a thirst and hunger for knowledge known by few; often learning from another freedman who had just learned to read himself, freed...

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... bonds to a past and to an American tradition erase all personal feelings of self-aggrandizement and intellectual pride, a place where the self encounters the struggle of America's past, a place where the soul grows deep like the rivers.


Anderson, James D. The Education of Blacks in the South, 1860-1935. Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina P, 1988.

Du Bois, W. E. B. The Souls of Black Folk. 1903. New York: Penguin Books, 1989.

Sims, Serbrenia J. Diversifying Historically Black Colleges and Universities: A New Higher Education Paradigm. Westport: Greenwood P, 1994.

Washington, Booker T. A Sunday Evening Talk. Tuskegee Institute, Alabama. 15. Jan. 1911.

Washington, Booker T. Up From Slavery. 1901. New York: Doubleday & Co., 1963.

Willie, Charles V., and Edmonds, Ronald R. Black Colleges in America. New York: Teachers College Press, 1978.
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