Booker T. Washington - Facts, Beliefs & School - BiographyBorn a slave on a Virginia farm, Washington rose to become one of the most influential African-American intellectuals of the late 19th century. In , he founded the Tuskegee Institute, a black school in Alabama devoted to training teachers. Although Washington clashed with other black leaders such as W. Du Bois and drew ire for his seeming acceptance of segregation, he is recognized for his educational advancements and attempts to promote economic self-reliance among African Americans. Across the landscape of the most anguished era of American race relations strode the self-assured and influential Booker T. The foremost black educator, power broker, and institution builder of his time, Washington in founded Tuskegee Institute, a black school in Alabama devoted to industrial and moral education and to the training of public school teachers.
Booker T. Washington and His Racial Politics - Fast Facts - History
Anyone who has even a cursory understanding of black history would know how great an honor it would be to meet a living descendant of one of the most dominant African American figures and educators. The last-born of Washington's great-grandchildren grew up in near poverty in a single-parent household in Oakland, CA.
Booker T. Washington and the 'Atlanta Compromise'
The picture of several dozen boys and girls in a schoolroom engaged in study made a deep impression on me, and I had the feeling that to get into a schoolhouse and study in this way would be about the same as getting into paradise. The vision of that schoolroom and the idea that learning was "paradise" would provide lifelong inspiration for Washington. He is, perhaps, best remembered as the head of the world famous Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute, founded in , and known today as Tuskegee University. His driving personality led a group of businessmen to ask if he would take the lead in creating the school. The Tuskegee Institute was the embodiment of Washington's over-arching belief that African Americans should eschew political agitation for civil rights in favor of industrial education and agricultural expertise. Washington believed that once it was apparent to whites that blacks would "contribute to the market place of the world," and be content with living "by the production of our hands," the barriers of racial inequality and social injustice would begin to erode. Washington's speech stressed accommodation rather than resistance to the segregated system under which African Americans lived.
The Garvey movement and the Harlem Renaissance
From until his death in , Booker T. He called on African Americans to cease agitating for political and social rights and to concentrate instead on working to improve their economic conditions. Washington felt that excessive stress had been placed on liberal arts education for African Americans. He believed that their need to earn a living called instead for training in crafts and trades. In an effort to spur the growth of African American business enterprise , Washington also organized the National Negro Business League in But black businessmen were handicapped by insufficient capital and by the competition of white-owned big businesses. But his program of vocational training did not meet the changing needs of industry, and the harsh reality of discrimination prevented most of his Tuskegee Institute graduates from using their skills.