Booker T. Washington Booker T Washington was born April 5, 1856 November 14, 1915. Booker T Washington was an African-American educator, author, orator, and advisor to presidents of the United States at the time. Between 1890 and 1915, Washington was the sole leader in the African-American community. Washington was born into slavery to his mother Jane was an enslaved African-American woman on the Plantation in southwest Virginia. She never identified his white father; he played no significant role in Washington's life.
His family gained freedom in 1865 as the Civil War ended, and his mother took them to West Virginia to join her husband. Washington was one of the last generation of black American leaders born into slavery, who overcame adversity and became the leading voice of the former slaves newly oppressed by the discriminatory laws enacted in the post reconstruction Southern states in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In 1895 his Atlanta compromise called for avoiding confrontation over segregation and instead putting more reliance on long-term educational and economic advancement in the black community.
His place of refuge the Tuskegee Institute, a state college for blacks in Alabama. The organizers of the new all-black state school called Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute in Alabama founded by the energetic leader Booker T Washington. He believed that with self-help, people could go from poverty to success. The school opened on July 4, 1881, initially using space in a local church. The next year, Washington purchased a former plantation, which became the permanent site of the campus.
Under his direction, his students created their own school: making bricks, constructing classrooms, barns and outbuildings; and growing their own crops and raising livestock; both for learning and to provide for most of the basic necessities. Both men and women had to learn trades as well as academics. As the threat of lynching reached a peak in the late 1800s, Washington gave a speech in Atlanta that made him nationally famous. The speech called for black progress through education and entrepreneurship. His message was that now was not the time to challenge Jim Crow segregation and the disfranchisement of black’s voters in the South.
Washington mobilized a nationwide coalition of middle class blacks, church leaders, and white philanthropists and politicians, with a long-term goal of building the community's economic strength and pride by a focus on self-help and schooling. Secretly, he supported court challenges to segregation. Black militants in the North, led by W. E. B. DuBois, at first supported the Atlanta Compromise but after 1909 set up the NAACP and tried to challenge Washington's political machine for leadership in the black community.
Decades after Washington's death in 1915, the Civil Rights movement generally moved away from his policies to take the more militant NAACP approach. State and some local governments gave little money to black schools, but some proved willing to give more heavily. Washington encouraged them and controlled millions of their money to projects all across the South this showed Washington’s actions reflected his self-help philosophy. Washington got to know the richest and most powerful businessmen and politicians of that time. He was seen as a spokesperson for African Americans and became the key ingredient for funding educational programs.
His rich business friends included such diverse and well-known people such as Andrew Carnegie, William Howard Taft, John D. Rockefeller, Henry Huttleston Rogers, George Eastman, Julius Rosenwald, Robert Ogden, Collis Potter Huntington and William Henry Baldwin Jr. , who gave large amounts of money to agencies such as the Jeanes and Slater Funds. As a result, many small schools were built through his efforts, in programs that continued many years after his death. The black communities were able to help their communities by donating time, money and labor to schools in a sort of matching fund.
An example of a great relationship was Washington's relationship with millionaire industrialist and financier Henry H. Rogers. Henry Rogers was a self-made millionaire, who had grown from a simple working-class family to become the head of Standard Oil, and had become one of the wealthiest men in the United States. Around 1894 Rogers heard Washington speak at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The next day he contacted Washington and asked for a meeting, during the meeting which Washington later remembered that he was told that Rogers "was surprised that no one had 'passed the hat' after the speech.
" The meeting started a close relationship that lasted over a period of 15 years. Although he and the very-private Rogers openly became visible to the public as friends, and Washington was a regular guest at Rogers' New York office, his Fairhaven, Massachusetts summer home, and personal and favourite steam yacht Kanawha, the true depth and extent of their relationship was not publicly revealed until after Rogers' sudden death of an stroke in May 1909.
Despite his travels and widespread work, Washington's health was getting bad very fast; he collapsed in New York City and was brought home to Tuskegee, where he died on November 14, 1915, at the age of 59. He was buried on the campus of Tuskegee University near the University Chapel. His death was believed at the time to have been a result of congestive heart failure, pushed by overwork. In March 2006, with the permission of his descendants, examination of medical records indicated that he died of hypertension, with a blood pressure more than twice normal, confirming what had long been suspected.
At his death Tuskegee's endowment surpassed $1. 5 million. Washington's greatest life's work, the education of blacks in the South, was well underway and growing rapidly Booker T. Washington mastered the implication of the political battle field in the late 19th century which allowed him to control the media, raise money, strategize, network, pressure, reward friends and distribute funds while punishing those who opposed his plans for uplifting blacks. His eventual aim was to end the unfairness of the majority of African Americans living in the states.
Washington had many honors, as the guest of President Theodore Roosevelt in 1901, was the first African American ever invited to the White House. The visit was the subject of an opera by Scott Joplin, A Guest of Honor. It was also recalled in the 1927 song by Banjo Blues Musician Gus Cannon, titled "Can You Blame the Colored Man". At the end of the 2008 presidential election, the defeated Republican candidate, Senator John McCain, referred to Washington's visit a century before as the seed that blossomed into Barack Obama as the first African American to be elected President of the United States.
In 1934 Robert Russa Moton, Washington's successor as president of Tuskegee University, put together an air tour for two African-American aviators. Afterward he had the plane named the Booker T. Washington. On April 7, 1940, Washington became the first African American to be depicted on a United States postage stamp. Several years later, he was honored on the first coin to feature an African American, the Booker T. Washington Memorial Half Dollar, which was minted by the United States from 1946 to 1951. He was also depicted on a U. S.
Half Dollar from 1951–1954. In 1942, the Liberty Ship Booker T. Washington was named in his honor, the first major oceangoing vessel to be named after an African American. The ship was christened by Marian Anderson. On April 5, 1956, the hundredth anniversary of Washington's birth, the house where he was born in Franklin County, Virginia, was designated as the Booker T. Washington National Monument. A state park in Chattanooga, Tennessee was named in his honor, as was a bridge spanning the Hampton River adjacent to his alma mater, Hampton University.
In 1984 Hampton University dedicated a Booker T. Washington Memorial on campus near the historic Emancipation Oak, establishing, in the words of the University, "a relationship between one of America's great educators and social activists, and the symbol of Black achievement in education Booker T Washington was an inspiration to all both black and white people. He showed that with hard work and an education that nothing in this world is impossible.