Up from Slavery

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Oxford University Press, 2000 - Biography & Autobiography - 196 pages
`My life had its beginning in the midst of the most miserable, desolate, and discouraging surroundings.'For half a century from its publication in 1901 Up from Slavery was the best known book written by an African American. The life of ex-slave Booker T Washington embodied the legendary rise of the American self-made man, and his autobiography gave prominence for the first time to the voice of agroup which had to pull itself up from extreme adversity. Washington attributes his success to his belief in many of the virtues celebrated by Benjamin Franklin: selflessness, industry, pragmatism, and optimism. But from behind the mask of the humble, plainspoken schoolmaster come hints thatreveal Washington the ambitious and tough-minded analyst of power who had to balance the demands of blacks with the constraints imposed on him by whites.To read Up from Slavery is to explore the means by which Washington rose to become the most influential and powerful black American of his time. How far he compromised African American rights in order to achieve his aims remains a matter of controversy.

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Review: Up from Slavery

User Review  - Will - Goodreads

Some of Washington's ideas seem outdated by contemporary standards, but I expected that going in. What's amazing is how many of them don't seem so anachronistic, even as they must have seemed so when ... Read full review

Review: Up from Slavery

User Review  - Rebecca - Goodreads

What an amazing and inspirational life. If only the people of today carried on his refusal for bitterness against others. This one I will read again because his life and example have much to teach and help. Read full review

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Note on the Text
Select Bibliography
A Chronology of Booker T Washington
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About the author (2000)

William Andrews is Joyce and Elizabeth Hall Professor of American Literature at the University of Kansas.

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