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Research paper example essay prompt: Booker T Washington - 1451 words
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Booker T. Washington Booker T. Washington Booker Taliaferro Washington was the foremost black educators of the 19th and 20th centuries. He also had a major influence on southern race relations and was a dominant figure in black affairs from 1895 until his death in 1915. Booker T.
Washington was born into slavery in 1858. As a slave Booker did not have a last name and chose Washington, his stepfather's name. After the Civil War Booker, his brother, and his mother moved to Malden, West Virginia were they went to live with his stepfather, whom they had only seen a few times. When they arrived in Walden, Washington was no more than 10 years old. However, he immediately went to work with his stepfather at the salt mines feeding the furnace. His education started with a Webster's Blue Black spelling book that his mother had provided him.
She hoped it would help him to learn to lead. Washington was unable to do much reading at home because he would work from dawn until around 9:00 at night, but during his breaks he would study his reading book teaching himself how to read. While working at the salt mines a local school opened up for black people. Unfortunately Washington was unable to attend the school because of his value to his family and stayed at the salt mines at the request of his parents. Eventually Washington was able to talk to his parents and convince them to let him attend the school for a few hours a day. Washington, however, had a problem.
His stepfather wanted him to work until 9:00 a.m. This made it almost impossible for him to make it to class on time so Washington came up with an idea. Every morning he would change the clock from a half past eight to nine so that he could make it to class on time. Later, the young Washington took a job at the home of Mrs. Ruffiner as a servant. Ruffiner was a very strict lady and expected the best out of the people that worked for her.
She demanded that they be clean and well behaved. This stayed with Washington for the rest of his life. He notes, Even to this day I've never seen bits of paper scattered around the house or on the streets that I didn't want to pick up at once. Washington worked for Ruffiner for over a year and a half until he was accepted at the Hampton Institute. The Hampton Institute was set up to educate African-Americans after the Civil War. At the Hampton Institute Washington worked as the janitor to support himself, pay his tuition and his room and board.
While at the institute Washington meets a man by the name of General Armstrong. Armstrong was the principal at the school and became one of Washington's closest friends. Washington writes: a great man-the noblest, rarest human being that it has ever been my privilege to meet. While at the Institute Washington learned important lessons in education that he would carry with him for the rest of his life. These lessons included the fact that keeping clean was an important part of a persons self worth.
He also learned that education does not mean that one was above manual labor. Washington felt that education should be well rounded and that a person should learn to love labor. He should also become self reliant and useful to those around him. He believed that a person should not be selfish and should lead by example. After graduation in 1875, he returned home to Malden to teach school for both black children and adults. It was at this time where Washington was recognized as an eloquent speaker and leader in the black community.
In 1878 he left Malden to attend Wayland Seminary in Washington D.C. In 1879 Armstrong asked him to return to Hampton as a teacher. In May of 1881, General Armstrong received a request from a group of philanthropists to suggest a principal for a new school for colored people in a small town in Alabama. When the request was made it was assumed that no colored man would be qualified for the position, but to the surprise of the founders Washington was suggested for the position. After arriving in Tuskegee, Washington decided that the school would open on July 4, 1881.
The doors opened as planned and the Tuskegee Institute was off and running. Washington believed that the purpose of the Institute was to produce people who could work hard, to learn a trade, and most importantly earn a living. In addition to this he also hope that the students would learn the importance to cleanliness and spirituality. Washington hope that the graduates would go throughout the country and be an example to all that came in contact with them. Reading, writing, and arithmetic were taught, but a stronger emphasis was placed on the trades and daily living skills. He wanted students to know that there was no shame in being a laborer.
He believed that an education was for the whole person and not an excuse to avoid work. As part of the student training , they were required to do all of the work around the campus. 'Learning a marketable trade such as construction, farming, raising livestock and mechanical repairs were vital. Life skills like keeping a handbook, saving money, bathing, and table manners were also taught.' Furthermore, Washington made religion a part of his student program .Although no particular religion was forced on them, it was part of the education to attend daily services. By doing this Washington felt he was teaching students to be complete persons who could be proud of themselves and what they were able to accomplish.
In the beginning Washington found it hard to raise money for the school because the state was neither generous nor stable enough to build the kind of school he was developing. Washington had to come up with a way to raise money for the newly founded Tuskegee Institute. Washington was able to do this by going on speaking tours and soliciting donations. He was impressing white northerners with the work he was doing and his non-threatening racial views. Washington was able to get donations from many of the top industrialist of the time such as Andrew Carnegie and John D.
Rockefeller. 'Twenty years after its beginnings, the Tuskegee Institute encompassed over 2,300 acres of land, 66 buildings built by the students, and over thirty industrial departments.' All of the industrial departments taught trades that allowed students to get jobs as soon as they left the institute. Washington had turned the Tuskegee Institute into one of the leading African-American educational institutions in the country. Today the emphasis is placed on a college degree in academics, instead of manual labor. Also moral character is not part of today's teachings. Joe Maxwell of the Capital Research Center writes in the report The Legacy of Booker T Washington that market trends have shown Washington's system may provide more jobs to a greater number of the population. He reports that a recent survey showed that 25 percent of small businesses surveyed are worried about the shrinking number of qualified workers in the trades.
Since the Civil Rights movement in the 1960's living standards for African-Americans have declined notably. Some African-American leaders feel that a return to the ways Booker T Washington. Booker T Washington developed a leadership style based on the model of the old plantation house servant. 'He used humility, politeness, flattery and restraint as a wedge with which hoped would split the wall of racial discrimination.' His conciliatory approach won the enthusiastic support of the solid south as well a that of influential Northern Politicians and industrialists. Their backing gained him a national reputation and provided him with easy access to the press.
It was Washington's non-threatening racial views that got him the appellation The Great Accomodater. Washington felt that blacks should earn their political and civil rights by improving their economic skills and the quality of their character. Putting the burden of improvement on the shoulders of the black men. If they were to work hard enough and prove their selves they would be able to gain the political and civil rights from the white man. His view on integration consisted of living by example. Washington felt that if black people were to show white people that they could be civilized and be an asset to the community all races would eventually be able to get along.
He didn't think that the government could force one race to accept another with the stroke of a pen. At the time when black leaders rejected laws and traditions which discriminated against African Americans, Washington spok ...
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