1. Education

Booker Taliaferro Washington - African-American Educator


Booker Taliaferro Washington - African-American Educator

Seated portrait of American educator, economist, and industrialist Booker T. Washington (1856-1915)

nterim Archives / Contributor/ Archive Photos/ Getty Images


April 5, 1856, Franklin County, VA on a plantation


November 14, 1915, Tuskegee, Alabama

Early Influences:

  • Worked in coal mines as a child
  • Mother was a cook on the plantation where he lived
  • Grew up in the South during the Civil War
  • Moved to West Virginia after the Civil War


  • Attended school when not working as a child
  • 1872-1875 attended Hampton Institute and Industrial School
  • Briefly attended the Wayland Seminary in Washington, D.C.

Major Accomplishments:

  • Was chosen in 1861 to head the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute
  • Caused Tuskegee Institute to grow into one of the world's leading centers of education for African-Americans
  • Founded the National Negro Business League in 1900
  • Advised Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft on racial matters
  • Wrote an autobiograpy, Up From Slavery in 1901


  • Stressed the importance of education and employment for African-Americans
  • Became a chief spokesperson for his race
  • Advocated cooperation between the races
  • His views caused strife with other African-American leaders, especially W.E.B. Dubois, although in his later years he began to agree with them on the best methods to achieving equality


©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.