Up from Slavery

This essay has a total of 1388 words and 6 pages.


Up from Slavery





Book summary - Up From Slavery

The book, Up From Slavery, written by Booker Taliaferro Washington,
profoundly touched me when I read it. Washington accomplished many amazing
obstacles throughout his life. He became perhaps the most prominent black
leader of his time. Blacks could gain equality by improving their economic
situation through education rather than by demanding equal rights that was
termed the Atlanta Compromise.
Washington’s life story was told during the mid to late 1800’s into the early
1900’s, in the time when the Emancipation Proclamation had gone into effect.
The Emancipation Proclamation was one major event in history that forever
changed our country. All slaves were free and had to go find a new place to live
and a new place to work. When the slaves were first freed there was alot of
hostile feelings from the whites towards the newly freed slaves. To blacks living
within post- Reconstruction South, Washington offered industrial education as
the means of escape from sharecropping and allowed blacks to become
self-employed, while owning their own land, or small business.
Booker over came the obstacles of the free black man by educating
himself and other blacks to become “equal” to whites. Until the start of World
War I African Americans had a difficult time. His speaking tours and private
persuasion tried to equalize public educational opportunities and to reduce racial
violence. There were many gains earned after the Civil War seemed lost by the
time of World War I because racial violence and lynching reached an all time
high. However, both the National Association for the Advancement of Colored
People (NAACP) and the National Urban League (NUL) were founded by blacks
and whites during this time. Both of these major civil rights organizations make
efforts on the part of blacks and their white allies to insure that the United States
provides "freedom and justice to all".
The year of Washington's death marked the beginning of the Great
Migration from the rural South to the urban North. He is known as one of the
best civil rights leaders for the African American people in the late 1800’s and
early 1900’s.
Booker began his life as a slave for the Burroughs family. He was born in
Franklin Co., Virginia around the year 1858 or 1859, he was not sure exactly
when he was born because there was never any paper work kept on slaves. His
mother was a slave and his father was a white man that he never knew.
After the emancipation Booker’s family decided to move to Malden, West
Virginia. The trip from Franklin county to Malden, West Virginia was the first he
had ever taken. The trip took Booker’s family many days because all of them
had to walk to whole way. They settled in a very small house with many other
black and very poor white neighbors. His step-father soon found work for Booker
and his brother John. They worked in the salt furnaces and coal mines.
Booker did not want to work he wanted to go to school to learn. A school
teacher, Mr. William Davis, came into his community. Booker was eager to
attend the school but his step-father was not able to spare me from work, so
could not attend it when it was first opened. Booker would go to work during the
day and be taught by a teacher at night. This seemed to be a problem because
the teacher his mother hired didn’t know much more then he.
After working in the coal mine for some time, his mother found a position
for him as a house boy for the Ruffner Family. He went to live with Ruffner’s with
many fears and doubts. Mrs. Viola Ruffner had the reputation of being very strict
and hard to please. While staying at the Ruffner household Booker learned the
exact way to have things; clean, neat, and orderly. Mrs. Ruffner taught him for a
few hours in the afternoon. She was his first real teacher that gave him a great
part of his education.
After being at the Ruffner house for about four years Booker made the
decision to attend Hampton Institute, in Virginia. He had gotten this idea from a
man he had heard talking about a school in Virginia. The man said that black
boys and girls were permitted to enter, and poor students were given an
opportunity of working for their board, if they had not money to pay for it. After
Continues for 3 more pages >>