Up from Slavery: An Autobiography

Front Cover
Bottom of the Hill Publishing, 2011 - Social Science - 142 pages
Up from Slavery is one of the greatest American autobiographies ever written. Its mantras of black economic empowerment, land ownership, and self-help inspired generations of black leaders, including Marcus Garvey, Elijah Muhammad, Malcolm X, and Louis Farrakhan. In rags-to-riches fashion, Washington recounts his ascendance from early life as a mulatto slave in Virginia to a 34-year term as president of the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. From that position, Washington reigned as the most important leader of his people, with slogans like "cast down your buckets," which emphasized vocational merit rather than the academic and political excellence championed by his contemporary rival W.E.B. Du Bois. Though many considered him too accommodating to segregationists, Washington, as he said in his historic "Atlanta Compromise" speech of 1895, believed that "political agitation alone would not save the Negro," and that "property, industry, skill, intelligence, and character" would prove necessary to black Americans' success. Booker T. Washington was an American political leader, educator and author of African ancestry, best known for his tenure as President of Tuskegee University. Washington was constantly criticized by his contemporaries for being too conciliatory to whites and not concerned enough about civil rights. It would not be until after his death that the world would find out that he had indeed worked a great deal for civil rights anonymously.

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4
4 stars
7
3 stars
3
2 stars
0
1 star
0

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - lydia1879 - LibraryThing

Articulate, and an incredible story. Washington tells of how he worked to become the principal of the Tuskegee Institute for African American people. By sheer force of will and determination, this man ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - debs4jc - LibraryThing

Things that impressed me from this book: * Booker's firm belief that merit would be recognized and rewarded. He considered this a great universal truth and a consolation for the persecuted. He ... Read full review

Other editions - View all

About the author (2011)

Booker Taliaferro Washington, 1856 - 1915 Booker T. Washington was born a slave in Hales Ford, Virginia, near Roanoke. After the U.S. government freed all slaves in 1865, his family moved to Malden, West Virginia. There, Washington worked in coal mines and salt furnaces. He went on to attend the Hampton, Virginia Normal and Agricultural Institute from 1872-1875 before joining the staff in 1879. In 1881 he was selected to head the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute, a new teacher-training school for blacks, which he transformed into a thriving institution, later named Tuskegee University. His controversial conviction that blacks could best gain equality in the U.S. by improving their economic situation through education rather than by demanding equal rights was termed the Atlanta Compromise, because Washington accepted inequality and segregation for blacks in exchange for economic advancement. Washington advised two Presidents, Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft, on racial problems and policies, as well as influencing the appointment of several blacks to federal offices. Washington became a shrewd political leader and advised not only Presidents, but also members of Congress and governors. He urged wealthy people to contribute to various black organizations. He also owned or financially supported many black newspapers. In 1900, Washington founded the National Negro Business League to help black business firms. Washington fought silently for equal rights, but was eventually usurped by those who ideas were more radical and demanded more action. Washington was replaced by W. E. B. Du Bois as the foremost black leader of the time, after having spent long years listening to Du Bois deride him for his placation of the white man and the plight of the negro. He died in 1915.

Bibliographic information