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African American Studies Center

Booker T. Washington

At the end of the nineteenth the century Booker T. Washington emerged as the most prominent African American in the eyes of most whites and a substantial majority of blacks. He achieved his status by creating a school for African Americans at Tuskegee, Alabama, and by voicing a strategy for African Americans to improve their political, social, and economic status in the United States. Washington's accomplishments, his vision for African American progress, and especially his leadership ultimately generated as much controversy and opposition as support.

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OUP Books

Up from Slavery

Booker T. Washington

For the 50 years that followed its publication in 1901, Up from Slavery was the most widely known book written by an African American. The life of Booker T. Washington embodied the legendary rise of an American self-made man, and his autobiography gave voice for the first time to a vast group that had to pull itself up from nothing. In the well-documented ordeals and observations of this humble and plainspoken schoolmaster we find traces of Washington's other nature: the ambitious and tough-minded analyst. Here was a man who had to balance the demands of his fellow blacks with the constraints imposed on him by whites.

Up from Slavery
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