Summary Of Booker T Washington

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“There was no period of my life that was devoted to play,” Booker T. Washington

recalled in his autobiography ‘Up from Slavery’ (676-77). When I read the excerpt, within The

Norton Anthology of American Literature, I found myself to be extremely sympathetic. As a

child I could not imagine doing manual labor jobs from sun up until sun down without having

play as an incentive. Being educated about slavery throughout my time in grade school and

college, I can recall the terrible treatment and labor the slaves went through. I assumed the

children of the slaves spent their time after the sun went down or when the typical child chores

were completed playing games they created with each other. I found Booker T. Washington’s

story to be enlightening,
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This story gave me a personal

morale boost. Booker T. Washington came from living on a dirt floor in rags as a child slave,

with no real hope for a future other than slavery. Instead of allowing slavery to deprive him, he

rose above the doubt and became an educated and successful man, as the founder of Tuskegee

Institute, and a major American author.

“Cast down your bucket where you are, cast it down in making friends in every manly

way of the people of all races by whom we are surrounded.” Booker Taliaferro Washington came

from nothing, a slave child who worked on a plantation in Hale’s Ford, VA (“Up from Slavery”

675). When the Emancipation Proclamation occurred, Washington made his way through school

with honors, and eventually was selected in 1881 as the principal for the Tuskegee Institute in

Alabama. At the time of Mr. Washington’s arrival the school of Tuskegee was completely in

theory. Washington spent all his time and effort to make the school a permanent success
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‘The Story of the Negro’ was Booker T.

Washington’s second novel, which went into the history of the colored man from Africa to

America. “No matter how obscure their origin, each will feel a special interest in the people

whose fortunes he or she has shared, and a special sympathy with all that people have lived, and

suffered, and achieved” (5). These novels are historical in nature and have impacted lives of

some, and influenced others. “Washington’s influence extended beyond uplift and

accommodationism,” as stated by Stephen Recken (55). Booker’s ability to reach an audience

that was made up of primarily White American folk and speak with such eloquence, was an

incredible feat and accomplishment. He was able to bridge the gap between the black and white

communities, hoping to create a more peaceful, and equal multi-race nation.

Mr. Washington had a following of supporters and critics. W.E.B. Du Bois was

“Washington’s greatest critic” (Recken 67). While Du Bois criticized the attitude and follow

through of Washington’s work, the outcome he wanted was similar. “This was an impossible

assumption of power. No one voice ever did or ever can speak for ten million” (Du Bois 374).

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