Essay on Booker T. Washington's Up From Slavery

Essay on Booker T. Washington's Up From Slavery

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Booker T. Washington's "Up From Slavery"


The autobiography of Booker T. Washing titled Up From Slavery is a rich narrative of the man's life from slavery to one of the founders of the Tuskegee Institute. The book takes us through one of the most dynamic periods in this country's history, especially African Americans. I am very interested in the period following the Civil War and especially in the transformation of African Americans from slaves to freemen. Up From Slavery provides a great deal of information on this time period and helped me to better understand the transition. Up From Slavery provided a narrative on Washington's life, as well as his views on education and integration of African Americans. All though this book was written in the first year of this century I believe Washington's views are still valid today.

America can probably still learn from them.Booker T. Washington was born into slavery in either 1858 or 1859. Birth Records were usually not available to slaves. Booker, his brother and his mother moved to Malden West Virginia after the Civil War. They went to live with his stepfather, whom they had only seen a few times before. When they arrived in Malden, Washington was no more then nine years old. However, he went to work with his stepfather in the salt mine business feeding the furnaces. His education started with a Webster's old "Blue-Black" spelling book that his mother had provided him. She hoped it would help him to learn to read. When Washington started working with his stepfather in the salt mines, he had to work from dawn to 9:00 PM, receiving very few breaks during the day. During his breaks he would study his spelling book, teaching himself to read. While working with his stepfather, a local school opened up for black people. But because of Booker's value to his family in the mines, he continued to work there at the request of his parents. Eventually, he talked his stepfather into letting him attend school a few hours during the day. Booker, however, ran into another problem. His stepfather wanted him to work until 9:00 AM and the young Booker found it difficult to reach school in time. He therefore did something that he was not proud of later in life.

Washington learned to change the clock every morning from half past eight to nine so he could arrive at school on time. The supervisor realized someone was changing ...


... middle of paper ...


...on of African Americans better than his own words from his speech to The Atlanta Cotton States and International Exposition, at Atlanta on September 18, 1895....Progress in the enjoyment of all the privileges that will come to us must be the result of severe and constant struggle rather than artificial forcing...It is important and right that all privileges of the law be ours, but it is vastly more important that we be prepared for the exercise of these privileges. The opportunity to earn a doll in a factory just now is worth infinitely more than an opportunity to spend a dollar in an opera house.

Works Cited

Eddings, Jerelyn. (1997). Second thoughts about integration. U.S. News on line http://www.usnews.com/usnews/issue/970728/28NAAC.HTM

Kunen, James S. (1997, July 21). Integration forever? TimeMartin, Abu. & Gavin, Shaun. Urban black male in crisis. Urban black male in crisis http://www.auser.org/Understanding/UrbanBlackMale.html

Maxwell, Joe. (1996). The legacy of Booker T. Washington: a family reunion. Capital Research Center http://www.pff.org/crc/pcs/pcs-1196.html

Washington, Booker T. (1963). Up from slavery, an autobiography. Garden City, N.Y., Doubleday.

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