Free Study Guide for Up From Slavery by Booker T. Washington-Summary |
The net of slavery is often thematically presented. Booker believed that slavery affected the Negroes, but affected the white race morally, and so no one escaped its terrible impact.
The relationship between the races is a theme that naturally flows out of the idea of the net of slavery. Booker came to understand that he had the influence to reach as many people of both races as possible to convince them how valuable a good relationship between them would be to the growth of the individual, the community, and the nation.
The last theme involves the idea that success is measured by the obstacles we have to overcome to reach it and not what we have actually attained. Mr. Washington felt that a manís character was built by how many walls he had to climb over before he reached his goal. It was the process of achievement that was more important than the finished product.
Overall, the mood is one of setbacks interspersed with optimism. Washington emphasizes the optimism and believes that whites and blacks living together in harmony is not only possible, but probable in spite of the ghost of the institution of slavery.
Booker T. Washington
Although Booker himself was unsure of his birth date, it has been determined now that he was born on April 5, 1856 near Haleís Ford, Virginia on the Burroughs farm.
He was born into slavery, as his mother was a slave and that made him the property of the same owner. After Emancipation in 1865, he had to help his poverty-stricken parents by working in the salt mines and the coalmines of West Virginia. He wanted to go to school so badly that at the age of 16, he walked over two hundred miles to attend school at the Hampton Institute in Hampton, Virginia. He became a teacher, because he was convinced that only through education could his race rise up from the burdens of slavery. He first taught in his hometown, then at the Hampton Institute, and finally at the Tuskegee Institute which he himself founded.
Because he had to travel throughout the country in search of funding for the Institute, he soon gained fame as an important speaker for his race. His famous speech at the Atlanta Exposition brought the attention of the white race to his belief that Negroes could actually raise themselves up through hard work and education.
He was often encouraged to run for office, but always turned down the suggestion, because he wanted to devote his life to the field of education.
He died at the age of 59 on November 14, 1915 in Tuskegee.
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. 15 May 2008