Booker T. Washington (1856-1915) was born a slave. He graduated from what is today Hampton University in 1875, and subsequently taught there. In 1881 he founded the forerunner of Tuskegee University. He made himself and his school two of the most well-known institutions in twentieth-century black America. He earned world-renowned recognition as an educator, social theorist, and spokesperson for African Americans.
Charles W. Chesnutt (1858-1932), an American writer, was considered the first African-American novelist. Noted for his subtle treatment of racial themes, he was awarded the Spingarn Gold Medal in 1928 for his pioneering work as a literary artist in depicting black Americans. Chesnutt is best known for The Conjure Woman (1898), a collection of dialect stories about slave life.