Booker T. Washington's Up from Slavery

The book, Up From Slavery, written by Booker Taliaferro Washington, profoundly touched me when I read it. Washington overcame many obstacles throughout his life. He became perhaps the most prominent black leader of his time. Booker T. Washington belived that African Americans could gain equality by improving their economic situation through education rather than by demanding equal rights.

Washington’s life story was told during the mid to late 1800’s into the early 1900’s, in the time when the Emancipation Proclamation had gone into effect. The Emancipation Proclamation was one major event in history that forever changed our country. All slaves were free and had to go find a new place to live and a new place to work. When the slaves were first freed there was alot ofhostile feelings from the whites towards the newly freed slaves. To blacks living within post- Reconstruction South, Washington offered industrial education as the means of escape from sharecropping and allowed blacks to become self-employed, while owning their own land, or small business.

Booker over came the obstacles of the free black man by educating himself and other blacks to become “equal” to whites. Until the start of World War I African Americans had a difficult time. His speaking tours and private persuasion tried to equalize public educational opportunities and to reduce racial violence. There were many gains earned after the Civil War seemed lost by the time of World War I because racial violence and lynching reached an all time high. However, both the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the National Urban League (NUL) were founded by blacks and whites during this time. Both of these major civil rights organizations make efforts on the part of blacks and their white allies to insure that the United States provides "freedom and justice to all".

The year of Washington's death marked the beginning of the Great Migration from the rural South to the urban North. He is known as one of the best civil rights leaders for the African American people in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.

Booker began his life as a slave for the Burroughs family. He was born in

Franklin Co., Virginia around the year 1858 or 1859, he was not sure exactly when he was born because there was never any paper work kept on slaves. His mo...

... middle of paper ... be equally educated. His speeches not only attracted the black people but also, northern and southern white people. Booker worked hard for all that he achieved during his life time. People all over were followers of Booker T. Washington. One example of how much these followers appreciated Washington is through raising money for a trip to Europe. Not just anyone went to Europe in those days. The trip showed how much the people appreciated Booker’s efforts for civil rights and education of blacks. They sent

him and his wife away for three months of strictly relaxation.

I believe that this is a very inspirational book giving the message “you can

do anything if you put your mind to it”. Booker shows his reader this through all the things he does in his life time.

This book was a very enjoyable book to read. I would highly recommend all people to read Up From Slavery to see the impact Booker T. Washington had on the African American civil rights that are present in the United States today. I believe that Up From Slavery showed how blacks improved their economic situation through gaining education.


Up From Slavery by Booker T. Washington

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