Booker Taliaferro Washington (April 5, 1856 – November 14, 1915) was an African-American educator, author, orator, and advisor to presidents of the United States. Between 1890 and 1915, Washington was the dominant leader...

Washington was of the last generation of black American leaders born into slavery and became the leading voice of the former slaves and their descendants, who were newly oppressed by disfranchisement and the Jim Crow discriminatory laws...

His base was the Tuskegee Institute, a historically black college in Alabama. As lynchings in the South reached a peak in 1895,...

Booker T. Washington mastered the nuances of the political arena in the late 19th century which enabled him to manipulate the media, raise money, strategize, network,...

In 1856, Washington was born a slave in Virginia. After emancipation, his family resettled in West Virginia. He worked his way through Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute (now Hampton University) and attended college at...

Washington attained national prominence for his Atlanta Address of 1895, which attracted the attention of politicians and the public, making him a popular spokesperson for African-American...

Northern critics called Washington's widespread organization the "Tuskegee Machine". After 1909, Washington was criticized by the leaders of the new NAACP, especially W. E. B. Du Bois,...

In addition to his contributions in education, Washington wrote 14 books; his autobiography, Up From Slavery, first published in 1901, is...

Washington was born into slavery to Jane, an enslaved African-American woman on the Burroughs Plantation in southwest Virginia. She never identified his white father, said to be a nearby planter, and the man played no significant...

As the great day drew nearer, there was more singing in the slave quarters than usual. It was bolder, had more ring, and lasted later into the night. Most of the verses of the plantation songs had some reference to...

She and her husband, the freedman Washington Ferguson, were formally married in West Virginia. When he started school, Booker took the...

The youth worked in salt furnaces and coal mines in West Virginia for several years to earn money. He made his way east to Hampton...

Washington was instrumental in having West Virginia State University, founded in 1891, located in the Kanawha Valley of West Virginia. He visited...

Washington was a dominant figure of the African-American community, then largely based in the South, from 1890 to his death...

Late in his career, Washington was criticized by leaders of the NAACP, a civil rights organization formed in 1909. W. E. B. Du Bois advocated activism to achieve civil rights. He labeled Washington "the Great...

Washington contributed secretly and substantially to legal challenges against segregation and disfranchisement of blacks. In...

Washington's work on education problems helped him enlist both the moral and substantial financial support of...

The schools which Washington supported were founded primarily to produce teachers, as blacks strongly supported literacy and education as the keys to their future....

The organizers of the new all-black state school called Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute in Alabama found the energetic leader they sought in 25-year-old Washington. He believed that with self-help, people...

Washington expressed his vision for his race in his direction of the school. He believed that by providing needed skills to society, African Americans would play their part, leading to acceptance by white Americans. He believed that...

Washington was married three times. In his autobiography Up From Slavery, he gave all three of his wives credit for their contributions at Tuskegee. His first wife Fannie N. Smith was...

Washington next wed Olivia A. Davidson in 1885. Born in Virginia, she had studied at Hampton Institute and the Massachusetts State Normal School at Framingham. She taught in...

In 1893 Washington married Margaret James Murray. She was from Mississippi and had graduated from Fisk University, a historically black college. They had no children together, but she helped rear...

Washington's 1895 Atlanta Exposition address was viewed as a "revolutionary moment" by both African Americans and whites across the country. At the time W. E. B. Du Bois supported him,...

Washington advocated a "go slow" approach to avoid a harsh white backlash. The effect was that many youths in the South had to accept sacrifices of potential...

Well-educated blacks in the North advocated a different approach, in part due to the differences they...

"Free black people were 'matter out of place'. Their emancipation was an affront to southern white freedom. Booker T. Washington did not understand that his...

Blacks were solidly Republican in this period, having gained emancipation and suffrage with the President Lincoln and his party. Southern states disfranchised most blacks and many poor whites from 1890–1908 through constitutional...

Washington worked and socialized with many national white politicians and industry leaders. He developed the ability to persuade wealthy whites, many of them self-made men, to donate money to...

Along with Du Bois, Washington partly organized the "Negro exhibition" at the 1900 Exposition Universelle in Paris, where photos of Hampton Institute's black students were displayed. These were taken by his friend Frances...

Washington privately contributed substantial funds for legal challenges to segregation and disfranchisement, such as the case of Giles v. Harris, which was heard before the United States...

State and local governments gave little money to black schools, but white philanthropists proved willing to invest heavily. Washington encouraged them and...

A representative case of an exceptional relationship was Washington's friendship with millionaire industrialist and financier Henry H. Rogers (1840–1909). Henry Rogers was a self-made man, who had...

A few weeks later Washington went on a previously planned speaking tour along the newly completed Virginian Railway, a $40-million...

Washington revealed that Rogers had been quietly funding operations of 65 small country schools for...

In 1907 Philadelphia Quaker Anna T. Jeanes (1822–1907) donated one million dollars to Washington...

Julius Rosenwald (1862–1932) was another self-made wealthy man with whom Washington found common ground. By 1908...

In 1912 Rosenwald was asked to serve on the Board of Directors of Tuskegee Institute, a position he held for the remainder of his life. Rosenwald endowed Tuskegee so that Washington could spend less time...

Washington's long-term adviser, Timothy Thomas Fortune (1856–1928), was a respected African-American economist and editor of the The New York Age, the most widely read newspaper in the black community within the...

In an effort to inspire the "commercial, agricultural, educational, and industrial advancement" of...

When Washington's second autobiography, Up From Slavery, was published in 1901, it became a bestseller and had a major effect on...

"so saturated with the odor of the nigger that the rats have taken refuge in the stable", and declared "I am just as much opposed to Booker T. Washington as a voter as I am to...

Austro-Hungarian ambassador to the United States Ladislaus Hengelmüller von Hengervár, who was visiting the White House on the same day, claimed to have found a...

Despite his travels and widespread work, Washington remained as principal of Tuskegee. Washington's health was deteriorating rapidly in 1915; he collapsed in New York City and was brought home...

His death was believed at the time to have been a result of congestive heart failure, aggravated by overwork. In March 2006, with the...

For his contributions to American society, Washington was granted an honorary master's degree from Harvard University in 1896 and an honorary doctorate from Dartmouth...

At the end of the 2008 presidential election, the defeated Republican candidate, Senator John McCain, referred to Washington's visit to...

In 1934 Robert Russa Moton, Washington's successor as president of Tuskegee University, arranged an air tour for two African-American aviators. Afterward he had the plane named...

On April 7, 1940, Washington became the first African American to be depicted on a United States postage...

In 1942, the Liberty Ship Booker T. Washington was named in his honor, the first major oceangoing...

On April 5, 1956, the hundredth anniversary of Washington's birth, the house where he was born in Franklin County, Virginia,...

In 1984 Hampton University dedicated a Booker T. Washington Memorial on campus near the historic Emancipation Oak, establishing, in the words of the University, "a...

Numerous high schools, middle schools and elementary schools across the United States have been named...

On October 19, 2009, West Virginia State University dedicated a monument to the memory of noted African...

Washington was held in high regard by business-oriented conservatives, both white and black. Historian Eric Foner argues that the freedom...

Washington repudiated the abolitionist emphasis on unceasing agitation for full equality, advising blacks that it was counterproductive to fight segregation at this point. Foner concludes that Washington's...

Historians since the late 20th century have been divided in their characterization of Washington: some describe him as a visionary capable of "read minds with the skill of a master...

People called Washington the "Wizard of Tuskegee" because of his highly developed political skills, and his creation of a nationwide political machine based on the black middle class, white...


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