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December 06 , 2010

Tuskegee & Its People - Their Ideals and Achievements


This early work by Booker Washington was originally published in 1905 and we are now republishing it with a brand new introductory biography. In Tuskegee & Its People, the scope of the Tuskegee Institute work is outlined by the chapters contained in Part I, while those of Part II evidence the fact that the graduates of the school are grappling at first-hand with the conditions that environ the masses of the Negro people. Washington was born a slave on a small farm in Virginia, USA in 1856. He moved with his family after emancipation to work in the salt furnaces and coal mines of West Virginia. After a secondary education at Hampton Institute, Washington taught and experimented briefly with the study of law and the ministry, but a teaching position at Hampton decided his future career. In 1881, Washington founded Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute in the Black Belt of Alabama. Though Washington offered little that was innovative in industrial education, he became its chief black exemplar and spokesman. To blacks living within the limited horizons of the post- Reconstruction South, Washington held out industrial education as the means of escape from the web of sharecropping and debt and the achievement of attainable, petit-bourgeois goals of self-employment, landownership, and small business. By 1900, the Tuskegee Institute was the best-supported black educational institution in the country. Washington died in 1915, aged 59. He is regarded as the foremost black educator of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and exerted a major influence on southern race relations over the course of his life.
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