Booker T. Washington


Booker Taliaferro Washington (April 5, 1856 – November 14, 1915) was an American educator, orator, author and leader of the African-American community. He was freed from slavery as a child, and after working at several menial jobs in West Virginia, earned his way through an education at Hampton Institute and Wayland Seminary. Upon recommendation of Hampton founder Sam Armstrong, as a young man, he was appointed as the first leader of the new Tuskegee Institute, then a teachers’ college for blacks.


Up from Slavery by Booker T. Washington

Character Building by Booker T. Washington

Booker T. Washington The Negro in Business by Booker T. Washington

Booker T. Washington: Volume 1: The Making of a Black Leader, 1856-1901 by Louis R. Harlan

Booker T. Washington: Volume 2: The Wizard Of Tuskegee, 1901-1915 by Louis R. Harlan

Booker T. Washington: A Re-Examination by Compiled By Lee H. Walker (Author), Diane Carol Bast (Editor), S.T. Karnick (Editor)


Associate yourself with people of good quality, for it is better to be alone than in bad company.

At the bottom of education, at the bottom of politics, even at the bottom of religion, there must be for our race economic independence.

Character, not circumstances, makes the man.

Dignify and glorify common labor. It is at the bottom of life that we must begin, not at the top.

I let no man drag me down so low as to make me hate him.

I will permit no man to narrow and degrade my soul by making me hate him.

No greater injury can be done to any youth than to let him feel that because he belongs to this or that race he will be advanced in life regardless of his own merits or efforts.

No race can prosper till it learns that there is as much dignity in tilling a field as in writing a poem.

If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else. ( I think this quote skipped over the head of many of a current Black Conservative.)


I think a worthy road trip for a Black family is to go down to Tuskegee University. I love the Carver Museum, and the entire campus. Something that moved me is this statue:


Lifting the Veil of Ignorance statue at Tuskegee University.

Whatever you might think about Booker T., remember this: his lasting legacy to the Black Community that he obviously loved, IS Tuskegee University. How many generations of Black folk have been able to find their way to their own personal ‘ American Dream’ through the education found at Tuskegee? This is lasting. This is concrete, and deserves our respect. This is why it drives me loopy sometimes to watch these so-called current day Black Conservatives talk about following in the steps of Booker T. Booker T. loved his community. He dedicated his life to improving it. He did on the ‘ grassroots’ level, as well as in the boardroom. He never displayed a contempt for the ‘Negro’ Community that many of our modern Black Conservatives do towards Black folk.

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