Booker T. Washington: Contribution as American Literature

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      Booker T. Washington (1856-1915), educator and the most prominent black leader of his day, grew up as a slave in Franklin County, Virginia. He was born in Hale’s Ford, as a son of slave mother and white father. He urged a program of the gradual development for black people and emphasized training in the techniques of agricultural and industrial production. These policies brought him in conflict with Du Bois and other black leaders. Du Bois attacked him for not taking sufficiently forceful stand on disenfranchisement in the south and criticizing him for promoting vocation,” instruction at the expense of the liberal education. His main works include - The Future of the American Negro (1899), Sowing and Reaping (1900), Character Building (1902), Working with the Hands (1904), The Story of the Negro (1909), My Larger Education (1911) and The Man Farthest Down (1912). He wrote an excellent biography of Frederick Douglass (1906) which was considered to be a pioneering work the field.

      Washington, fine but simple autobiography, Up From Slavery (1901), recounts his successful struggle to better himself. It is hardly surprising that his autobiography was an enormous success and it became the most famous book by an African American for half a century after its publication. Eventually, after the Civil War, he went to school. Entering Hampton Normal Agricultural Institute in Virginia in 1872, he said that he was starting a ‘new life’ and he had reached.

      The Rise of Realism, I Promised land’. There he met and won the favor of the many whites who assisted him with his career. The college president Samuel Armstrong, was great man typical of that Christ like body of men and women who were to lift up my race”. Armstrong recommended Washington for further education in Tuskegee Institute, a school for black teachers funded by Alabama Legislature. He moved to Tuskegee in 1881 and spent the remaining years, moving between the institute and his publishing program for education and advancement for his people. He gave an address at the opening of the Cotton States in Atlanta in 1895 and received a letter of congratulations by the President Grover Cleveland. He emphasized the importance of vocational and utilitarian education for his African Americans. His became renowned for his efforts to improve the lives of African-Americans. His policy of accommodation with whites was an attempt to involve the recently freed black American in the mainstream of American society was outlined in his famous Atlanta Exposition Address (1895).

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