Booker:

“I will allow no man to belittle my soul by making me hate him…” These are the words of one of the greatest men in American history, these are the words of one of the most articulate individuals this country has ever known, certainly the finest public speaker of his time, a man Revered by kings and queens and presidents, these are the words of the founder of the Tuskegee institute, these are the words, in the truest sense, the words of a self-made man, these are the words of a man born in to slavery, No one is exactly sure when “Booker T. Washington” was born…. it is thought to have been the spring of 1856.

His mother was a cook on a plantation in Virginia – his father was a white man who took no responsibility for him…. Many Historians believe that Booker was the product of rape, In his powerful auto biography “UP from Slavery” he recounts his life as a child slave, Booker at a young age was not sure what freedom meant…but he was very curious about it…. he thought that perhaps it meant he too would be able to eat ginger cakes just like the masters’ daughter,

He and the rest of the slaves on the plantation were liberated by solders of the united state army in 1865 — booker was about 8 years old…

By this time Booker had a step father – under his direction the family moved away and went to work in the coal mines, booker was now old enough to understand “freedom” …. And what he wanted more than anything in his new life was to learn to read and write…

The money Booker made in the mines was so desperately needed to help support the family that taking time to go to school was just out of the question…

Somehow Bookers mother got her hands on an old tattered book – the Webster blue back speller, Booker, with no direction, taught himself how to use the speller — and in no time was reading and writing…with these new skills Booker wanted to go to school more than ever — finally his step father consented…

On his first day of school the teacher was calling the role, All the children stood up and stated their first and last names…

Booker only had one name “Booker”

so when the teacher got to him he made a last name up – it was the grandest name he could think of “Washington” — he later learned that his mother actually had given him a last name — it was odd sounding started with a “T” — he used that T as his middle initial…

After receiving what little education was available locally – he heard of another school – the Hampton institute – it was a school for blacks….

He found his way to Hampton where he spent his nights sleeping under a wooden sidewalk – his days hanging around the school hoping they would admit him ….

He was dirty and disheveled from sleeping outside — officials at Hampton thought him unworthy — but over time he so ingratiated himself that he was finally granted admission… he became a star pupil….

Booker found the passion of his life – teaching …

And felt education was the key to lifting his people out of poverty — with that in mind he founded the Tuskegee institute to educate blacks…. He stated with two rented shacks – Tuskegee grew to become the most revered learning institution of it’s kind …

Students attending Tuskegee were so well trained that twice the number of job offers arrived at the school than could be filled by graduates… unheard of even by today’s standards…

At Tuskegee Booker T. Washington taught his philosophy for success … and it was simple ….

Be so skilled at what you do that people can’t do with out you…