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Booker T. Washington

Booker T. Washington was a renowned nineteenth century African American author and most importantly advisor to presidents of the United States. Besides being a remarkable orator, he was also an educator. Washington came a long way from slavery to eventually become a prominent leader and championed African American’s rights.

Booker Taliaferro Washington was born on April 5, 1856 to a slave family in Hale’s Ford, Virginia. Upon the 1865 Emancipation Proclamation, they gained their freedom and settled in West Virginia and young Washington worked his way through Hampton Institute. He received his higher education from Virginia Union University. A historically black college, the Tuskegee Institute recognized him as their first leader after Hampton Institute president, Samuel C. Armstrong recommended him. Moreover, he played a key role in the establishment of West Virginia State University in 1891.

As he witnessed peak in black people’s lynching in Southern States, he raised his voice against it in his Atlanta Address of 1895. The memorable speech brought him in the limelight and garnered him prominence at the national level. He represented the last generation of black leaders born into slavery. To further his cause, he made contact with other notable professionals from black communities to come together and pull themselves out of white American’s tyrannical rule. At first he fought for the educational rights of freedmen during the Jim Crow’s discriminatory, post-Reconstruction era in South.

Soon after, Washington became a dominant figure in black politics. He not only won hearts of all other African American communities in the South but also influenced wealthy liberal whites from North to join him. White politicians and other renowned figures at higher ranks in the society respected him and sought his consultation on racial issues and also raised large sums for his cause. In fact, he was conferred upon several honorary degrees from various universities.

Besides, there were several such organizations that criticized

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