Booker T. Washington was an American educator, who pushed for blacks to strengthen themselves through educational accomplishments and economic advancement.
Booker Taliaferro Washington was born as a slave on the Burrough's tobacco plantation in Hale's Ford, Virginia on April 5, 1856. His mother was a cook and his father was a white man. After the Emancipation Proclamation was signed in 1863, his family moved to Malden, West Virginia. Since his family was poor, he could not attend school. He began to work in coal mines and salt furnaces at the age of nine. When he was sixteen, he quit working so he could go to school. From 1872 to 1875 he went to a newly founded school for blacks called the Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute in Virginia. He paid his tuition by working as a janitor at the school.
Washington believed that having an education would raise black people to equality.
After he graduated, he became a teacher. He first taught in his home town, Malden, for two years. In 1879, he became a teacher at the Hampton Institute. While he was there, he helped to create a night school and he was also in charge of industrial training. The school was so successful that the founder of the Hampton Institute chose Washington to be the principal of a black school in Tuskegee, Alabama. In 1881, he founded the Normal School for colored teachers at Tuskegee but the school was later renamed the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute. Since he was the head of the Institute, he traveled around the country to raise funds from both blacks and whites. While he was traveling, he became a well-known speaker.
Although Washington was well known from Tuskegee, he did not become known as a national leader until 1895 when Washington was...