Progressive Heroes: Booker T. Washington

While rummaging through the books in a Good Will store some 25 years ago, I picked up a paperback titled "Three Negro Classics." The book contains: Up From Slavery by Booker T. Washington; The Souls of Black Folks by W.E.B. DuBois; The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man by James Weldon Johnson. All the writings are among some of the most moving, insightful and inspiring that I've every read. However, Up From Slavery is one of the most inspiring stories I've read and reread in my life.

For decades, Booker T. Washington (1856-1915) was the major African-American spokesman in the eyes of white America. Born a slave in Virginia, Washington was educated at Hampton Institute, Norfolk, Virginia. He began to work at the Tuskegee Institute in 1881 and built it into a center of learning and industrial and agricultural training.

If I was in charge of high school education in the world, I would make EVERY student read Up From Slavery. It would provide them with an important role model who climb from the bottom of life's barrel to do very great things.

"Think about it: We went into slavery pagans; we came out Christians. We went into slavery pieces of property; we came out American citizens. We went into slavery with chains clanking about our wrists; we came out with the American ballot in our hands... Notwithstanding the cruelty and moral wrong of slavery, we are in a stronger and more hopeful condition, materially, intellectually, morally, and religiously, than is true of an equal number of black people in any other portion of the globe." ... from Up From Slavery

If you're not familiar with the story of Booker T. Washington, check out these links:

Link#1 and

Link #2.

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