- NAME: Booker T. Washington
- OCCUPATION: Educator, Civil Rights Activist
- BIRTH DATE: April 05, 1856
- DEATH DATE: November 14, 1915
- EDUCATION: Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute, Wayland Seminary in Washington, D.C.
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Hale's Ford, Virginia
- PLACE OF DEATH: Tuskegee, Alabama
- Full Name: Booker Taliaferro Washington
- AKA: Booker T. Washington
Best Known For
Educator Booker T. Washington was one of the foremost African-American leaders of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, founding the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute, now known as Tuskegee University.
African-American leader Booker T. Washington founded Tuskegee Institute in 1881 to train African-Americans in agriculture and industry and promote the economic progress of his race.
Born into slavery in 1856, Booker T. Washington was freed after the Civil War and rose up to become one of the foremost African-American leaders of his time.
In 1881, Booker T. Washington founded the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, which focused on training African Americans in agricultural pursuits. A political adviser and writer, Washington clashed with intellectual W.E.B. Du Bois.
W.E.B. Du Bois and other activists started the Niagara Movement to end racial segregation and to lead the charge against Jim Crow laws.
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In 1901, President Theodore Roosevelt invited Booker T. Washington to the White House, making him the first African American to be so honored. Both President Roosevelt and his successor, President William Howard Taft, used Washington as an adviser on racial matters, partly because he accepted racial subservience. His White House visit and the publication of his autobiography, Up from Slavery,
brought him both acclaim and indignation from many Americans. While some African Americans looked upon Washington as a hero, others, like Du Bois, saw him as a traitor. Many Southern whites, including some prominent members of Congress, saw Washington's success as an affront and called for action to put African Americans "in their place."
Booker T. Washington was a complex individual, who lived during a precarious time in advancing racial equality. On one hand, he was openly supportive of African Americans taking a "back seat" to whites, while on the other he secretly financed several court cases challenging segregation. By 1913, Washington had lost much of his influence. The newly inaugurated Wilson administration was cool to the idea of racial integration and African-American equality.
Booker T. Washington remained the head of Tuskegee Institute until his death on November 14, 1915, at the age of 59, of congestive heart failure.
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