Friday, April 5, 2013

Happy birthday, Booker T. Washington

It is the birthday of African-American educator Booker T. Washington (1856), who grew the Tuskegee Institute to be one of the most significant institutions of higher education for black students in the nation. Washington established relationships in both black and white communities throughout the country aimed toward improving and developing black education. He secured donations to help start thousands of small rural schools throughout the South. He grew in stature and became an adviser to presidents Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft. Washington wrote 14 books, some with the help of ghost writers Robert E. Park and Max Bennett. Among them are The Story of My Life and Work (1900), Up From Slavery (1901), The Story of the Negro: The Rise of the Race from Slavery (two volumes) (1909), My Larger Education (1911), and The Man Farthest Down (1912).  He was honored with a U.S. postage stamp in the 1940s, on a Liberty Ship in 1942, and on a half dollar coin in the late 1940s and early 1950s.

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