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Booker T. Washington
Booker T Washington retouched flattened-crop.jpg
Booker T. Washington in 1905
Booker Taliaferro Washington

(1856-04-18)April 18, 1856
Died November 14, 1915(1915-11-14) (aged 59)
Resting place Tuskegee University
Alma mater Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute
Wayland Seminary
Occupation Educator, author, and African American civil rights leader
Political party Republican
Opponent(s) W. E. B. Du Bois
Spouse(s) Fannie N. Smith
(1882–1884, her death)
Olivia A. Davidson
(1886–1889, her death)
Margaret James Murray
(1893–1915, his death)
Children Portia M. Washington
Booker T. Washington Jr.
Ernest Davidson Washington
Booker T Washington Signature.svg

Booker Taliaferro Washington (April 5, 1856, – November 14, 1915) was an American political leader, teacher and author. He was born into slavery, but was eventually freed. He was one of the most important people in African American history in the United States from 1890 to 1915.

Washington helped start the Tuskegee Institute, which was a university for African-American students, after attending the Hampton Institute.

Washington believed that in order to create a peaceful post-slavery society, black and white people needed become friends with each other.

He saw violence and protests against discrimination of blacks as holding grudges between the races. Washington also stated that freed blacks should not aim for Congress right away, they needed to start by being able to support themselves economically.

Visit to president

Washington was invited to dinner by President Theodore Roosevelt. The President wanted to appoint Washington to advise him on issues of race. This upset some American people. African Americans had visited the White House before but had never been asked to dine there. In reaction several newspapers published a racist poem relating to black people in the White House. The poem was published again when the wife of Representative Oscar DePriest had tea with wife of President Herbert Hoover.

Interesting facts about Booker T. Washington

Booker T. Washington
Booker T. Washington with his third wife Margaret and two sons, Ernest, left and Booker T., Jr., right
  • Booker T. Washington was born into slavery and never knew the day, month, and year of his birth.
  • He was an adviser to multiple presidents of the United States.
  • He was one of the founders of the National Negro Business League.
  • Booker worked in salt furnaces and coal mines in West Virginia for several years to earn money.
  • Booker's middle name “Taliaferro” is Italian. It was a common last name in the South. He chose the last name Washington when he was enrolled in his first school.
  • Booker T. Washington was married 3 times and had 3 children, Portia M. Washington, Booker T. Washington Jr. and Ernest Davidson Washington.
  • He thought that education was important for African Americans so they could prosper and become independent.
  • His autobiography, Up from Slavery, first published in 1901, is still widely read in the early 21st century.
  • He was the first African American to be featured on a postage stamp.

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