The Life of Booker Taliaferro Washington
Booker T. Wa​shington lived as a slave until Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1865. He lived on James Burroughs' tobacco farm and worked until that prophetic day. During his slave life he walked to the schoolhouse, but was never allowed to go in. After he was freed, Washington always had a drive to learn. When he was sixteen he went to the Hampton Institute in Virginia, he paid tuition by working, but eventually became a professor at the school. He became one of the leading black intellectuals of his age and opened his own school, called the Tuskegee normal and Industrial Institute in Alabama. He convinced whites that his school would offer blacks a way to live a middle-class life, but would never 'encroach' upon the super-wealthy. He cultivated a positive relationship with northerners which helped make his institute the best funded school for blacks in America. Washington died a well-respected man in 1915.

The Philosophy of Booker T.

Booker T. Washington promoted the way he lived, through hard work he was able, and believed all who tried, were able to build their way up economically. He believed economic stability, and taking on the persona of the white middle-class (being educated, having refined speech, and promoting personal hygiene) would lead to social equality. He taught that being patient and conforming to the already established society would lead the former slaves to what they most wanted, equality.
Though this philosophy may make it seem that Washington was a pacifist, however, later in his life Washington became much more forceful and encouraged the idea that equality should come about more quickly.


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American History, Alan Brinkely, 12th Edition