Booker T. Washington Essay

2504 words - 10 pages

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...

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