BT Washington Essay Research Paper Chad Mertz

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B.T. Washington Essay, Research Paper Chad Mertz Booker T. Washington Essay September 25, 2000 Throughout the life of Booker T. Washington expressed in his autobiography, Up From Slavery, one element has remained the same through his influences, education, public speaking, and teaching of others. This is the fact that one cannot succeed solely on a “book” education, but must accompany this with that of an “industrial” education as well. He believed that with this type of education, the black man could provide necessary services not only for himself, but also for those in his community as well. Washington was born on a slave plantation in either 1858 or 1859 in Franklin County, Virginia. He grew up with his mother, his brother John, and his sister Amanda. They lived in

an extremely small log cabin, which was typical for a slave family. His father was thought to be a white man who lived on a nearby plantation. Washington knew nothing of him, which was also very typical of many slaves. Washington’s mother was the plantation cook, which meant she did not have a great deal of time to raise the children. The white men that gave them orders raised them. Due to the fact that he was only a small child during the times of slavery, Washington could perform few jobs. These were little jobs such as cleaning the yards, carrying water to the men and women to the fields, and taking corn to mill. Although small, these jobs gave Washington the base of his industrial education, which shaped his views for the rest of his life. After the end of the Civil War,

Washington’s mother moved his family to Malden, West Virginia. This is where her husband, who also was Washington’s sister’s father, lived. Although he wanted to attend school, Washington worked in the local salt mines to help support his family. During this time of work, Washington acquired a Webster’s spelling book that came to be the first book he ever read. About this same time a school had been stated in Kanawha Valley, a little town a few miles away from Malden. This is where Washington began his book education. To attend the school, Washington, at first, had to go to night classes due to his job at the salt mines. With a little persuasion, Washington finally was allowed to attend during the day provided he worked from four o’clock to nine o’clock in the

morning. This education was very disorderly due to the fact he could not attend regularly. Eventually Washington had to drop out of the school and continue working full time at the salt mines. Washington continued working at the salt mines until he was able to work in the coal mines. The coal mines paid a little more, but not a significant difference. It was here where Washington overheard two men talking about a new all Negro school in Hampton, Virginia. In order to go to this school, Washington needed to save money for clothes and traveling expenses. For this he worked in the house of Mrs. Viola Ruffner, who turned out to have an ample affect on his life. “The lessons that I learned in the home of Mrs. Ruffner were as valuable to me as any education I have ever gotten

since,” (Washington 52). From Mrs. Ruffner, Washington learned about taking pride in having a clean living area. She also encouraged his education during the time of his work there. After saving whatever money he could, Washington set off for the Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute. During his travels, Washington overcame many hardships. For a while he even slept under a board sidewalk. This fact showed Washington’s dedication for education. He knew it was vital, and in turn, was going to get his at any cost. Upon arrival at Hampton in 1872, Washington was required to take somewhat of an entrance test. The test consisted of him cleaning a recitation-room. He passed it with flying colors due to acquiring this trade for Mrs. Ruffner. About this test Washington writes,