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Community Advocacy Organization

A Look In The Mirror - Booker T. Washington (1856 - 1915) Educator


Washington was an influential figure in the development of African-American culture during the 19th and 20th centuries. He was born into slavery in 1856 in Virginia, and after being freed in 1863, he attended the Virginian-Hampton Institute.


He later established the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. He became one of the country's most prominent black leaders. At the time, Washington's gradualism was regarded as controversial. He believed African-Americans could improve their lives by becoming self-sufficient and learning practical skills instead of resorting to political activism. He was at odds with other African-American leaders, including W. E. B. Du Bois. Du Bois criticized him for accepting discrimination and segregation as the status quo, and his gradualism continues to be so today.


Despite his controversial ideas, Washington's contributions to the advancement of African-Americans have been acknowledged. His work at the Tuskegee Institute has trained many of the nation's most prominent African-American scientists and educators. His legacy continues to inspire people even after he died in 1915.

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