Booker T Washington3 Essay

This essay has a total of 2534 words and 10 pages.


Booker T Washington3




Booker T. Washington

Booker T. Washington was a great leader. He was all for helping the black community
become stronger. His goal was very hard to achieve considering the period in which he
lived. America, during Washington's time was under reconstruction. The Civil War was over
and blacks were, by law, equal to any other human being. Slavery was abolished and many
southerners had a problem with that. To many whites, black people didn't deserve and
weren't intellectually "ready" for such freedoms. The South had such a hard time accepting
it that Union troops were stationed in southern states who couldn't cooperate. Booker T.
Washington is a prime example to southerners who think that blacks can amount to nothing.
In my paper I will talk to you about the many accomplishments he has made and the
hardships that were attached to his achievements. As always a lot of people tried to pull
Booker down. Some were even of the same race as Mr. Washington. But along the way a lot
people helped Booker. People who he helped, his family, his community, and others who felt
he was just a really great guy.

Booker T. Washington was born on April 5, 1856. Like many blacks around this time, he was
born into slavery. He was born on a small farm in the Virginia back country. His master
was James Burroughs. Mr. Burroughs had a wife name Elizabeth and 13 children. Booker's
mother's name was Jane and she had two other children besides Booker. He spent his first
nine years of his life in the plantation kitchen. There his mother prepared the master's
family and the slaves food. He mainly wore hand me downs from his brother John, and got
his first pair of shoes at eight.

This was not the life that Booker wanted to have. His mind was set on something bigger and
better. When he was a slave one of his choir's was to operate a contraption that swatted
away flies from the food at the table. Booker was able to get his first taste of
intellectual conversation while swatting flies at the dinner table. He yearned to want to
be important just like them. To be able to discuss political and social events with
people. He wanted an education. That time came in 1865 during the defeat of the South in
the Civil War. A neighboring slave name Washington Furguson married Bookers mother Jane.
He then traveled to Malden, West Virginia where he worked in the salt furnaces of Kanawha
Salines. Jane and the rest of the family soon joined him that same year. Booker worked
along side Ferguson in the salt factories, and later was forced to labor in the local coal
mines. Coal mines wasn't what Booker had in mind. As he wrote in his autobiography, "From
the time that I can remember having any thoughts about anything, I recall that I had an
intense desire to learn to read." Booker got his first classroom education in Malden. He
attended the local school for black children a few hours during the day or night while
still working full time in the mines. When asked by his first teacher for his name, the
ten- year-old replied, "Booker Washington," taking as his last name the first name of his
stepfather. Booker, years later added the middle name Taliaferro.

Getting the local school for black children wasn't enough for Mr. Washington. One day at
the coal mines, Washington overheard discussion over a school for blacks called Hampton
Institute. The youngest boy there explained that he was promptly determined to seek a
formal education there. Washington's family was very poor though. Booker couldn't even
quit the coal mine to go to a local school, let alone Hampton. He worked extra hard. He
took a job as a houseboy for the owner of a local coal mine, Mr. Ruffner. Lots of people
supported Booker. His employers wife, Mrs. Viola Ruffner always encouraged Booker to keep
working and that soon he would reach Hampton. His local community also supported him with
some financial aid. With all of this help Booker was able to enroll at Hampton Institute
in the fall of 1872.

Hampton was located on the famous peninsula between the York and James rivers. Centered in
Academic Hall, it was an imposing three-story building completed only the one year before
Mr. Washington arrived. To an untraveled and untutored boy like Booker, it was the most
beautiful structure imaginable. After having an interview with the assistant principal
Mary Mackie in which he was asked to sweep the room, he was enrolled. This was how he got
the job as the schools janitor. Washington was paid $10.00 a month. Lots of times he had
to wake up at 4:00 a.m. Or he had to clean classrooms late at night. Booker worked so hard
that the principal and founder, General Samuel C. Armstrong, of Hampton became interested
in him. General Armstrong was so impressed with Booker that he had S. Griffith, a friend
of the school. pay Booker's tuition fee of seventy dollars. Despite this aid and the
income from his janitorial duties, Booker still struggled constantly to make ends meet.
But, he borrowed the books he needed instead of buying them. Teachers helped him out by
getting him cloths from a local missionary store. General Armstrong was the most help to
Washington though. Armstrong was like a role model to Washington. Booker felt as though
Armstrong was one of the most intellectual, interesting, and beautiful people in this
world. Booker felt that Armstrong had a great deal of belief in him.

Washington graduated in 1875, realizing that his formal training despite it's value,
could not match what General Armstrong had given him by precept and example. For three
years after his graduation Washington did what Armstrong wanted every Hampton graduate ot
do: he became a missionary to his people, returning to Malden to take over the school
which had given his first formal education. Before he could do that though, he had to get
some money together for his journey. He worked as a waiter in the summer of 1875 at the
United States Hotel in Saratoga. He was then reduced to a dish washer after booming his
first assignment. Washington finally reached Malden where he took a teaching job. He
taught from eight in the morning the children and the adults at night. On Sundays he he
also did double duty, teaching Sunday School in the morning at Snow Hill, and a community
about two miles distant, and in the afternoon at Malden.

After three years at Malden Washington decided to go to Wayland Seminary in Washington for
a year of graduation training. This school was different from Hampton because it devoted
exclusively to liberal arts. The "deep religious spirit" there, together with the "higher
Christian character" of the president, made a deep impression on Washington, but there
were something's there that he didn't like. Those things were; lack of moral fiber in
which most of the students had their tuition paid for them, and more time was spend on
learning Greek or Latin then teaching you about life. Washington's experience in Wayland
helped him nurture the teaching that he acquired in Hampton.

At the end of his eight months in Washington, Booker was asked and accepted an invitation
to get blacks and white votes on moving the capital of West Virginia and three other
towns. Washington, for three months, used his persuasive powers on the voters. The
state-wide decision was in the end Charleston, a fact in which Washington allowed himself
a measure of personal pride.

Washington's persuasive powers brought some of his friends to the conclusion that he
should practice law. Washington did but then stopped to help Armstrong. Armstrong had
asked him to come to Hampton and deliver the coming commencement address. He did and
entitled his speech, "The Force That Wins." Armstrong also asked Washington to become a
member of his teachers staff. Armstrong was working on a program in he was teaching Native
Americans the same type of training he taught African Americans. Washington said yes to
that also and the program did work just as successful as it did with African Americans.
Over the years Hampton improved germatically.
Continues for 5 more pages >>




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