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In my day, we used to have to...

Did your grandparents ever tell you that when they were kids they had to walk barefoot for miles uphill, just to go to school? Do you think they may have been stretching the truth a little? Well, for Booker T. Washington, his story of going to school was no tall tale

Booker T. Washington was a promoter of black education

Booker Taliaferro Washington was born as a slave in Virginia in 1856. He was always hungry, his only clothing was a shirtdress that was as rough as a potato sack. He was never allowed to go to school and learn how to read. When he was seven, an important event changed his life for the better. The Emancipation Proclamation, signed by Abraham Lincoln, said that all the slaves could go free. This meant that little Booker T. was free for the first time in his life.

a statue depicts Booker T. as a kid
Young Booker T. did everything he could to learn and educate himself. He taught himself the alphabet and some spelling from books, but he wanted to learn more. He decided he would go to a school he had heard about called the Hampton Institute. It was a special school just for African American children. He had no type of transportation other than his own two feet. The only problem was that it was 500 miles away! He got rides from people passing by for part of the way, but he ended up walking a lot of the time. Even though the journey was hard, he made it all the way. And it was worth it.

Booker T. Washington became one of the most educated African Americans of his time. He helped give advice to three presidents. He started a famous school for African Americans called the Tuskegee Insitute. He even had tea with the Queen of England! His thoughts and the words he said were very important to people at the time, even if they did not all agree with him. Booker T. Washington's life has made a difference for everyone today.


Please email me at: teddy@ustrek.org


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