English Class: Autobiographies

Up From Slavery

English: Booker T. Washington in a poster in 1911.
English: Booker T. Washington in a poster in 1911. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Booker T. Washington wanted to help the blacks by educating them in book learning and also practical skills. He thought that the best way for blacks to gain social acceptance would be for them to become useful to their community. Some blacks wanted to become educated so that they would not have to do manual work anymore. But Washington realized that if the blacks would learn a trade, be the best, and serve their community, then they would be accepted into the society because of their usefulness. In his school, the Tuskegee Institute, he required every student to learn to do manual labor. They built their own buildings, made a brick kiln, grew food, and constructed other wooden items. One example of how Washington’s program did help the blacks was at his own school. The students made and sold bricks to people in the area. Because they were the only ones who manufactured bricks nearby, whites, who at first did not like the idea of blacks being educated, came and bought from them. This proved Washington’s point that if the blacks would learn to provide some useful service they would be accepted in the community.

 

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