Booker T. Washington (1856-1915)
Booker T. Washington was born into slavery in Franklin County near Roanoke, Virginia in 1856, and moved with his family just after the Civil War to Malden, West Virginia, where Washington worked in the salt mines. He succeeded in securing an education at the Hampton Institute in Virginia's Tidewater region. From there he went to teach at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. When Washington became president of Tuskegee in 1881, the school hardly existed, yet largely through his efforts it became one of the leading facilities for black education in the United States. By the 1890s, Washington was the most prominent African-American in the country, and a number of Presidents, as well as business leaders, relied on Washington as an advisor.
Washington's autobiography, Up From Slavery, published in 1901, followed the American tradition of the self-made man's account of his success. The work was internationally popular as well as a critical success, and brought large amounts of much-needed funds to Tuskegee. Booker T. Washington died in 1915.
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