Memorable Moments from Booker T. Washington

One of the most memorable moments was when he described the poor shanty in which he lived while still a slave with his mother and siblings. It was very poor, drafty (an understatement), hot in summer, frozen in winter.

His arrival at a school in Virginia called Hampton marked a memorable moment. His entry fee was a room so clean you couldn’t find a speck of dirt in it. Also with Hampton came the memory of General Armstrong, a man, he says, who was the best man he ever knew.

One of the major memorable moments was when he settled in at the town called Tuskegee in the Black Belt of the South (called the black belt for the color of the soil and the color of the majority of the people who lived there). He has so little money, that all he could afford for the school was a shack so leaky that an umbrella had to be held over him when he taught in the rain. He also describes the remarkably poor condition of the black people within the surrounding area. They were so ignorant at the time that they were in debt for gadgets like clocks that didn’t tell time properly and organs that they couldn’t play when they didn’t even have enough plates to go round. They were sorely in need of an education of any sort, both of working with the hands and with the mind.

Later, Washington was able to purchase a piece of land on which he built a building and taught there. He was truly living up to the title of the book—Up from Slavery, and he was helping the poor, black people to come up from slavery too.


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