Booker T. Washington was the most prominent spokesperson for African Americans after the death of Frederick Douglass. Washington was a black educator, power broker, and institution builder of his time.
Here are some other historical facts to know about Booker T. Washington:
1. Born a slave on a Virginia farm on April 5, 1856.
2. Rose to become one of the most influential African-American intellectuals of the late 19th century.
3. Picked his own last name as a young child.
4. Found work in the coal mines but still managed to attend school after he moved with his mother and stepfather to West Virginia after the emancipation.
5. Returned to Virginia in 1871 and enrolled in the Hampton Institute.
6. Taught in West Virginia and then studied at the Wayland Seminary before returning to teach at Hampton.
7. Left Hampton in 1881 to begin the single most important undertaking of his life: founding the Tuskegee Normal School in Alabama.
8. Along with his small staff, Washington, and his students worked as carpenters to build Tuskegee Normal School.
9. Pragmatist who engaged in deliberate ambiguity in order to sustain white recognition of his leadership.
10. Philosophy and the “Tuskegee machine” won him widespread support among northern white philanthropists as well as acclaim among blacks.
11. Collapsed in October 1915, while delivering a speech in New York City and was hospitalized. He asked to be returned home to die and was taken back to Tuskegee, where he died the next day at home on his beloved campus.