Booker T Washington: The Life Of Booker T. Washington

1439 Words 6 Pages
Booker T Washington was an astonishing individual who shaped the world in many ways, from his unorthodox views on racism and segregation to his focus on training and educating African Americans.
Washington was born on April 5th, 1856, to a life of slavery in Virginia. His mother, a slave, worked as a cook for the plantation owner, James Burroughs, while his father was an unknown white man who was most likely from a nearby plantation. He grew up in a humble one-room log cabin, where as a child he would carry 100 pound sacks of grain to and from the plantation mill. He was often beaten for not completing his job as well as his plantation owner liked, which was unreasonable due to the fact that Washington was only a small boy doing a man’s work.
…show more content…
Washington was a strong believer that once African Americans gained financial independence and cultural advancement, by hard work, they would quickly be accepted into the white community. His unorthodox views were publicly stated in 1895, in a speech commonly referred to as the “Atlanta Compromise”. In his speech, Washington stated that African Americans should be open and accepting of segregation as long as they are allowed economic and educational opportunities. He stated, “Cast down your buckets where you are”, “in all things that are purely social”, “we can be as separate as the fingers, yet one as the hand in all things essential to mutual progress” opening the floor for criticism pointing towards his “anti-labor, and antidemocratic appeal,” many even claimed he was one of the main endorsers for segregation. After his most notable speech, spurs of criticism and anger formed in the African American community. Activists, like W.E.B Du Bois, began to criticize Washington’s belief that African Americans were only suited for vocational training and not formal education, as well as his lack of conviction for “full equality for all individuals”, stated by the 14th …show more content…
Washington passed one hundred years ago, his contributions to society are still prevalent today. His immense love for education allowed him to actively participate in the growth of African Americans in the south. His involvement and persistence in founding the Tuskegee Institute, furthered the African American education and gave them useful training for the American workforce. He was essential in the changes being made throughout society for an improvement in relationships among races. His work; political, educational, as well as his literature, greatly impacted the African American understanding of achieving “higher education, financial power, and understanding of the U.S legal system.” Washington is most notable for his contributions in aiding African Americans’ attaining the necessary skills needed to spark the fight that would arise in the Civil Rights Movement, which led to the passing of important civil rights laws, still in use

Related Documents