Booker T. Washington
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|Booker T. Washington|
|Booker Taliaferro Washington|
|Birthplace||Hale's Ford, Virginia, U.S.|
Educator, Author, and African American Civil Rights Leader
Washington, Booker T. (Taliaferro) (b. Booker Taliaferro)(1856–1915) educator; born in Hale's Ford, Va. He was born into slavery and adopted the name "Booker Washington" as a schoolboy; he graduated from Hampton Institute, Virginia (1875). As its first principal (1881–1915), Washington built Tuskegee Institute, Alabama, into a major black institution offering "industrial education," or vocational training, to its own students and, through its extension programs, to rural blacks. His teaching, writing, and lecturing—particularly a famous address in Atlanta in September 1895—established him as America's foremost black leader, although his promotion of education and economic progress rather than demanding equal rights as the key to progress alienated many African-American intellectuals. He was the founder and first president (1900–15) of the National Black Business League. The first of his three autobiographical volumes was Up from Slavery (1901).
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.