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Publisher's Summary

In the South of the 1890s, Booker T. Washington stood as the often controversial personification of the aspirations of the black masses. The Civil War had ended, casting uneducated blacks adrift or, equally tenuous, creating a class of sharecroppers still dependent on the whims of their former owners. Black Reconstruction, for all its outward trimming, had failed to deliver its promised economic and political empowerment. While an embittered and despairing black population sought solace and redemption, a white citizenry systematically institutionalized racism. From this Armageddon rose a Moses, Booker Taliaferro Washington, who was born in 1856 in Virginia to a slave mother and a white father he never knew. After Emancipation, Washington began to dream of getting an education and resolved to go to the Hampton Normal Agricultural Institute in Virginia. When he arrived, he was allowed to work as the school's janitor in return for his board and part of his tuition. After graduating from Hampton, Washington was selected to head a new school for blacks at Tuskegee, Alabama, where he taught the virtues of "patience, thrift, good manners, and high morals" as the keys to empowerment.
An unabashed self-promoter (Tuskegee was dependent upon the largesse of its white benefactors) and advocate of accommodation, Washington's "pick yourself up by your bootstraps" and "be patient and prove yourself first" philosophy was simultaneously acclaimed by the masses and condemned by the black intelligentsia, who demanded a greater and immediate inclusion in the social, political, and economic fabric of this emerging nation.
(P)2006 Tantor Media Inc.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Karen FP on 06-12-16

enlightening book

I found the book the to be an enlightening read about the life and times of a man and Institute I knew little about, except for second hand . the reader foes a good job. Booker T. Washington was a wise man who believed that kindness, unselfish living, and hard work would make a person successful - whether "colored" or not. an excellent primary source for learning about this time in history.

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By Amazon Customer on 10-22-11

Modern Message

I thoroughly enjoyed this reading. Booker T Washington's message of hard work, perserverance and dignity is as vital today as it was 100 years ago. The fact that you can rise from sleeping in a gutter to changing people's thoughts and lives should be an inspiration to all nationalities and races. The reader had a gradnfatherly tone, and I felt drawn in to each story as if I was there watching it all happen. I would recommend this story to readers of all ages

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1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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