Booker T. Washington
Leader, Teacher, Hero
“It is important that all privileges of the law be ours, but it is vastly more important that we be ready for these privileges.” said Booker. This was one famous line that he said in his Atlanta Compromise speech, a speech that won him many white people’s help, and set a way of thinking for all whites in general. Booker T. Washington, an african american hero, made his life’s work trying to educate his race. He believed that the only way to gain equality was by economic progress. His goals and accomplishments made his life one of the most important in gaining civil rights.
After 3 years there, he got a letter from the government, telling him that they wanted him to set up and teach at many new schools that they were setting up. Booker was overjoyed, and helped build over 20 new schools. He spent most his life teaching at one called Tuskegee, the biggest institute that he had constructed. He wanted his race to not be able to be tricked, and be able to understand the rights they got, so to use them to the best extent. He also was one of the first african americans to share a stage with a white at a debate, and gave a very famous speech called the “Atlanta Compromise Speech.” He had many challenges along the way, like W. E. B. Du Bois. Du Bois was another african american leader at the time, but his attentions were turned towards using force, which Booker did not believe in. Many people at that time were leaning towards violence to gain equality, but Booker knew that that would be unsuccessful and useless. If we demanded rights, whites would only be nice to us because of fear, not from the heart. Eventually they would grow to hate us, worse than before, a bitter hate. We would be worse off than we are now, Booker thought. But if we get them to enjoy equality, and if we show them it works out better for them in the end, they will be willing and welcoming.
Unfortunately, when people saw that Booker’s way was much slower and did not seem to have as much assurity to succeed as Du Bois’ did, Booker started to lose opinions, and many people stopped wanting to listen to him. During a speech on November 12, 1915, Booker T. Washington fell ill. He told the people that he wanted to die in his own Tuskegee. The people took him there, and he died and was buried in his old school that meant so much to him.
During a speech on November 12, 1915, Booker T. Washington fell ill. He told the people that he wanted to die in his own Tuskegee. The people took him there, and he died and was buried near his old school that meant so much to him.
“Success has to be measured not by ones positions in life, but by the obstacles he overcame to succeed,” Booker T. Washington always said. If one follows this line, how would you measure his success? Booker got past slavery, hard work, mistreatment, opposition, and other leaders to get to his position. He spent the whole of his life helping others, and I think that confirms that he was one of the greatest African american leaders.
Video: "Booker T. Washington - Mini Biography." YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 18 Mar. 2013.
Website: "Booker T. Washington." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 18 Mar. 2013. Web. 18 Mar. 2013.
Book: Lois P. Nicholson, Booker T. Washington, Chelsea House Publishers, 1997