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Booker T Washington

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Booker T. Washington

April 5, 1856, Ð'- November 14, 1915

Booker T. Washington was born on April 5, 1856 and died on November 14, 1915. Washington was born into slavery with his black slave mother and his white father on a farm in southwestern Virginia. Before Washington moved his way up to the Hampton Roads he worked several menial jobs. However, when he got to the Hampton Roads he worked his way through school which is now known as Hampton University and attended college at Wayland Seminary. Throughout the years 1890 to 1915 Washington was the most dominant figure in the African American community in the United States. He was seen as a popular spokesperson for African American citizens he represented the last black leaders born into slavery. Throughout the last twenty years of his life, he maintained this standing through a nationwide network of core supporters in many communities, including educators, ministers, and businessmen, especially those who were black. Washington was awarded a doctorate for his outstanding access to top national leaders in politics, philanthropy, and education.

Active in politics Washington was routinely asked by Republican Congressmen and Presidents about the appointment of African Americans to political positions throughout the nations. He argued that the surest way for blacks to eventually gain equal rights was to demonstrate patience, industry, thrift, and usefulness and said that these were the key to improved conditions among the African Americans. Washington's 1895 Atlanta Compromise address, given at the Cotton States and International Exposition in Atlanta, Georgia, was widely welcomed in the African American community and among liberal whites in the North and South. Wasington helped to establish the National Black Business League. Shortly after the election of President William McKinley in 1896, a movement was motioned that Washington be named to a cabinet post, but he withdrew his name from consideration, preferring to work outside the political arena. Washington believed that blacks should not push to attain equal civil and political rights with whites. That it was best to concentrate on improving their economic skills and the quality of their character and that the burden of improvement resting squarely on the shoulders of the black man. Eventually they would earn the respect and love of the white man, and civil and political rights would be accrued as a matter of course. This was a very non-threatening and popular idea with a lot of whites.

As Washington's influence with whites and blacks grew as he reaped several honors. In 1901 he wrote a bestseller called "Up from Slavery", his autobiography. He also became an advisor to the United States President, Theodore Roosevelt. He became the first black ever to have dinner at the White House with the President. This created a huge scandal. Many white people thought that it was a wrongful action for whites and blacks to mix socially, and for their President to do have diner

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