In the book Up From Slavery by Booker T. Washington, Booker writes his story after the war. This book is an autobiography sharing all the life challenges for the African American race during slavery and after. Washington is a very brilliant African American that did an impeccable job of delivering an eye opening book about these tough times. Booker T. Washington had the idea that to be successful you would need to be educated, and he believed that during his youth labor helped him become a better person.
Up from Slavery tells a story of a boy’s journey through life as he becomes a better man than he had ever dreamed of becoming. The story starts when he was a boy that is uncertain of who he is or where he is from. He states that “My life had its beginning in the midst of the most miserable, desolate, and discouraging surrounding. ”1 Although he started from a discouraging place he continues on through his life working in the salt furnaces and coal mines, when he overhears of a college called Hampton Institution. To be educated was Washington’s dream.
Soon after he heads out into the world heading for Hampton where he gets an education and graduates, and where he later put his education to good use becoming a teacher. He uses his knowledge to go back to his home town and help provide an education to the people that were like him before Hampton. In the process for all the help from his brother he sends him off to Hampton so he can get the same education he did. During this life journey of his, he comes across many hardships but this is not enough to stop his determination.
He continues on with his life going all around the world giving public speech’s, making a difference, helping others, and going down in history for his achievement. In the book Up From Slavery, Washington explains the hardships of slavery, you would think it would take a strong person to make it through the slavery time period. Washington not only made it through slavery but used it to make something better of himself by striving for success and getting an education no matter the cost. Booker T. Washington wrote the document.
The author’s bias is that he has a right to be a racist or prejudice against the whites from what he’s been through, but throughout the book he does not come off very bias against the white race. There were many stories told of things that could and were done to the Negro race. One of which Washington states, “ I had been told the first thing a deserter does to a Negro boy when he found him alone was to cut off his ears. ”2 The harsh condition of the Negro man may have been an understatement, but Washington doesn’t let this effect his prospective on all whites.
Washington made this book to me very neutral on racial terms. He wanted to be able to have this read by any race and for the person to be able to understand the Negro prospective, and did it in a way without discriminating against the white race for things they did. I believe this relates to the intended audience for people interested in history/ time period around the Civil War. This is a primary source from Booker T. Washington himself, telling his own life story. This autobiography is very detailed and informational.
The topic is the life story of a Negro starting at the bottom and working his way towards the top. The hardships explained by Washington personally give a clear insight of the Negro perspective. His thesis is that in order to succeed you need to earn what you have and be educated to make a difference. The document was written and published in New York City. The setting is important because it shows in result he made it to a big city where his education got him noticed and he made a difference. With his wisdom and education he became the one chosen to go to Tuskegee by General Armstrong.
“…much to my surprise asked me if I thought I could fill the position in Alabama. ”3 The document was written during his time. The historical context is that the War had ended issues of slavery and freedom for slaves had arose. Even though Negros were considered free there were many things Confederates did to make this a struggle. There were Jim Crow laws that were made causing segregation. These law segregated whites and colored people in churches, schools, restaurants, and even restrooms. There were also black codes made by confederates involving no colored person to be able to testify against a white.
As for relationship matters it was prohibited for a white and Negro to marry. Not only were there laws that were enforced but confederates also made groups that were anti-negro/ anti-freedom. One of which that is famously known as the Ku Klux Klan. “The Ku Klux Klan were bands of men who had joined together for the purpose of regulating the conduct of coloured people.. ”4 The document was written to inform and even influence people about the Post – Reconstruction Era.
His reference to the Ku Klux Klan period was what he believed “the darkest part of the Reconstruction days”5 The document is a credible source since the document is a primary source it comes straight from a person that personally experienced all the issues during that time period. I belive that Washington was an accomadationist. When speaking for a crowd he always said what he wanted but also made sure to let the people hear what they want to. With the ability to do this he was able to persuade people. Washington accepted invitations for speeches in “territory where I thought it would pay to plead the cause of my race.
”6 His ability to speak infront of people was very influential and only added to his success with knowledge. Although Washington goes into detail about his accomplishments in speech he never did about his personal life. Washington had been married three times, but in his autobiography doesn’t spend much time on talking about his wives. I believe relating to the type of document he could spend time talking about each wife he had in detail but analyzing the rest of the book you can understand Washington didn’t want it about personal relationships, but more about accomplishments.
Washington talks briefly about his wives because each took part in helping Washington get to the top of his ladder of success. But overall Washington didn’t want to take away from his educational focus. But when Washington talks about his feelings toward whites and how Negros was treated he was being naive. The hardships in the south during slavery were personally degrading to the individuals. Although as the person that Washington is I believe he is coming from the fact that although the Negros was slaves, their owners were the closest thing to family that they had.
Being a slave provided them with shelter, food, and several basic life necessities that helped then later in life when they were freed. Overall the book Up from Slavery was very educational. The use of personally experiences helped me as a reader relate to the text and understand the hardships. Washington took getting his education further than what he stated of being able “to read common books and newspapers. ”7 At the beginning he thought he would at some point be able to just read, which he achieves this and goes even further. Washington had an immense amount of dedication and the ability to push himself.
Once he heard of the college Hampton he then and there already started planning his trip even though he had no idea where it was. Hampton was his light at the end of the tunnel that put in on the track to success of becoming the person he is famously known of today. His travel to success was a bit bumpy and slavery took a toll on his life, but instead of just working to barley make ends meet he set his goals to where no one thought they could be reached. His ability to fight through the tough times made him Booker T. Washington the African American who got an education and made a difference.