Booker, however, ran into another problem. His stepfather wanted him to work until AM and the young Booker found it difficult to reach school in time. He therefore did something that he was not proud of later in life. Washington learned to change the clock every morning from half past eight to nine so he could arrive at school on time. The supervisor realized someone was changing the clock and locked it to deny access to all but himself.
This is an example of the length to which the young Booker went to have a chance to learn.
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Booker learned at an early age the importance of doing things for himself. While at school he noticed that all of the people were wearing caps. When he confronted his mother about this she explained they could not afford to buy him a store bought cap. But she told him that she would work something out. For the rest of his life, he would remember that cap as an important lesson in his life.
Washington states:. The lesson that my mother taught me in this has always remained with me, and I have tried as best I could to teach it to others. Later, the young Washington took a job at the home of a Mrs. Ruffiner as a house servant. Many boys before him, in the same job, lasted had only a few weeks because of her demands. Ruffiner was very strict and expected the best out of the boys that worked for her.
She demanded that they be clean and well behaved.
Up From Slavery by Booker T. Washington
This stayed with Booker for the rest of his life. After working for Ruffiner for a year and a half, young Washington was accepted at the Hampton Institute, a school set up by whites to educate African Americans after the Civil War. He worked as a janitor there to support himself and pay his tuition, room, and board. Armstrong made a great impression on Booker. While at the Hampton Institute, Washington learned important lessons about education that would stay with him the rest of his life. He also learned that education does not mean that one was above manual labor.
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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. Washington would take these lessons with him to the Tuskegee Institute where he would later be the principal.
University Press of Florida: Booker T. Washington and Black Progress
In May of , 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 called Tuskegee. When the request was made it was assumed no colored man would be qualified. But to the surprise of the founders of the Tuskegee Institute Washington was suggested for the position. They accepted him. After arriving in Tuskegee, the founders and Washington decided that the school would open up on July 4, , Independence Day.
Washington believed the purpose of the Tuskegee Institute was to produce people who could work hard, to learn a trade, and earn a living.
In addition, he believed they should also learn the importance of cleanliness and spirituality. Washington hoped that graduates would go throughout the country and be an example to all who came in contact with them. Reading, writing and arithmetic was taught. But a stronger emphasis was placed on the trades and daily living skills. He wanted students to understand 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 manual work.
As part of the students training, they were required to do all of the work at the institute. Learning a marketable trade such as construction, farming, raising of livestock, and mechanical repairs were vital.
Life skills such as how to keep a bankbook and save money, bathing, table manners, clothes washing, and mending were also taught. Furthermore Washington made religion a large part of his students program. Although no one particular form of Christianity was forced upon the students, it was part of their education to participate in 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.
Twenty years after its humble beginnings, the Tuskegee Institute encompassed over 2, hundred acres of land, 66 buildings built by the student themselves, 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.
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They were receiving more than twice what they could provide. Because of space and funds, the school could only admit half the men and women who applied.
Washington sums up his ideas on education in his autobiography:. In our industrial teachings we keep three things in mind: first, that the student shall be so educated that he shall be enabled to meet conditions as they exist now, in the part of the South where he lives-in a word, to be able to do the things which the world wants done; second, that ever student that graduates from the school shall have enough skill, coupled with intelligence and moral character, to enable him to make a living for himself and others; third, to send every graduate out feeling and knowing that labor is dignified and beautiful-to make each one love labor instead of trying to escape it.
Washington died in as one of the most well known black men in the world. He sat for dinners with the President of the United States, royalty of Europe, as well as most of the industrial giants of his time. Washington was an intelligent man trying to do what he believed to be best for his people. That was to provide them with an education that would enable them to live exemplary lives. Although the school was created to help the most black people possible to learn a trade, it now helps a very few earn elite college degrees.
Overall, his optimistic yet wholly unrealistic perception of society, coupled with his attempts to present white plantation owners as victims of the institution of slavery, ultimately serves to undermine the plight of African Americans during the early 20th century, and serves as an excuse for white citizens to ignore the pressing need for justice in America. King, Martin Luther, Jr.
Lemke-Santangelo, G. Radical or Congressional Reconstruction Washington, Booker T. Boston: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning, Du Bois, W. Remember: This is just a sample from a fellow student. Sorry, copying is not allowed on our website. We will occasionally send you account related emails. Want us to write one just for you? The doctrine of the Trinity Essay. Opinion on Tattoos Essay. Has technology changed the world for the better? Barbie Doll Essays. Personal Strengths Essays. Effects of Watching too much TV Essays. A Pair of Silk Stockings Essays. Honesty Essays. Haven't found the right essay?
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