People of Character-Booker T. Washington


Booker T. Washington’s official name at birth was Booker Taliaferro. His mother was a slave in Virginia, and his father was an unknown white man. Booker’s mother later married Washington Ferguson, who became Booker's step-father. He later took on the last name Washington, and he became known as Booker T. Washington. As a slave Booker had to overcome many obstacles, including getting an education. Education was where it all had started, and paved the way for Booker to become an inspirational character in history. 

Growing up as a slave meant that Booker could not get education. Booker would go to school only to carry other children’s books, but not to get educated. He had such determination, and drive for wanting a good education that at the age of 16 he set out to find a good education program, even though he had to walk hundreds of miles to reach it. He found himself at Hampton Institute which allowed poor uneducated students to get an education in exchange for doing work. Booker worked as a janitor, after proving that he could clean a room up to the head woman’s satisfaction, so he could get an education. Booker became a teacher at Hampton Institute which gave him the determination to work towards his next well respected goal, and helped to found the Tuskegee Institute that resided in Alabama. The institute was the dream of Lewis Adams.

Booker T. Washington traveled to get funds for the Institute, which is when he became a well-known, respected speaker. A leader fought for what he believed in most.

Tuskegee University History: An informative University website that gives the history of the Tuskegee University.

Booker’s Successes and His Critics: A great informative website that provides information on how Booker was accepted by the Caucasian population and who his critics were. 

Slaves were often no more than property to the people who owned them. They were fed small amounts of food, sometimes only once a day. Slaves were also often housed together in small, one bedroom rooms. If one was a field slave they would typically work anywhere from 10 to 18 hours a day. The Emancipation Proclamation was issued in 1863 by Abraham Lincoln. It stated that around 3.1 million slaves were to be released, and that they were from that point on free. The only problem with the Emancipation Proclamation was that it didn’t mandate the freedom of the slaves in the Union states, so there were still many slaves struggling to be free.

History of Slavery: The article gives information on the history of U.S. slavery. 

Emancipation Proclamation: Gives information about what the Emancipation Proclamation is and the history behind it.

Booker T. Washington was inspired by Samuel Armstrong. Armstrong was opposed to slavery and believed that slaves that became free should have the opportunity to receive a good education. Booker took an instant liking to Armstrong and Armstrong to him, and Armstrong became his mentor from then on out. 

When the Tuskegee Institute opened Booker T. Washington became the first principal at the urging of Armstrong. He had a conservative view on the interaction of blacks and whites, and shared it with everyone. The Caucasian population liked his views, and many white men donated to Booker’s school because of that reason. Booker continued to lecture wherever he could. He became very well known as a national spokesman. Along the way he found many great teachers that wanted to join his school and share his views.

“Democracy and Education” Speech: A speech known as “Democracy and Education”, spoken by Booker T. Washington.

Educator Booker T. Washington: Provides information on Booker T. Washington as an educator and the speeches he was known for.

Booker’s triumph made him inspirational and now is recognized during Black History Month. This is because his speaking spoke to both the whites and the blacks. He told the whites, that the black people had to earn their way into society through hard work, and they did. Slowly the blacks became part of the society because of Booker T’s speeches and the beliefs he had. Black History Month is done to remember the black men and women who helped to fight for equality among all people. 

African American History Month: The African American History Month website gives resources and information about Black History Month.

Booker T. Washington was a slave who was freed by the Emancipation Proclamation. He traveled hundreds of miles to receive a good education at the Hapton Institute where he later became a teacher. After funding shortages, Booker contributed to the opening of the Tusakgee Institute. To get the best teachers, support, and funding he gave speeches, stating that black people should earn their way into society through hard work. Due to his conservative lecturing process he earned white and black support and racial progress was slowly made. Later he was recognized as a national figure, and is inspirational to all.