Booker T. Washington

by Deana from Raleigh

“Character, not circumstances, makes the man.”

What makes a hero? Is it the courage that they show to stand up for something they believe in? Is it the determination they have in never giving up? Or could it be the loyalty thay had to do something that may involve negative reactions.

Booker T. Washington, born a slave on April 5, 1856 in Hales Ford, Virginia, founded Tuskegee Institute in Alabama in 1881 and later became an important and controversial leader of his race. "He went to school, not as a student, but to carry books for one of James Burroughs’s daughters." It was illegal to educate slaves, but that didn’t stop Booker. Booker was determined to be educated and go to school. Here’s his comment on the matter; “I had the feeling that to get into a schoolhouse and study would be about the same as getting into paradise.”

At the age of 16, Booker walked 500 miles from West Virginia back to Virginia to enroll in a new school for black students. He knew that even poor students could get an education at Hampton Institute. "The head teacher was suspicious of his ragged clothes and country ways and admitted him only after he had cleaned a room to her satisfaction."

Booker T. Washington was named many things. For one, they called him a token Negro in the company of white heroes. This is because of the way he accepted segregation, his outward humility, and his constructive achievements as an educator and a race leader. Washington was best known as the Negro spokesperson that accepted Southern white demands for segregation.

Booker (
Booker (

Booker Taliaferro Washington, a leader, an educator and most of all a hero. There are some many character traits I can tie him to: Loyalty, honesty, intelligence, caring. As Booker said, “Character, not circumstances, makes the man.” And that’s spoken by a true hero.

Page created on 3/26/2006 9:47:35 AM

Last edited 3/26/2006 9:47:35 AM

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