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Up From Slaveryis one of the most widely read African American autobiographies in the English language. It details how prominent African American leader Booker T. Washington rose from slavery to become one of the nation’s most prominent orators and educators at the turn of the 20th century. This reprint of the original 1901 edition is enhanced by 12 related documents and an essay by W. Fitzhugh Brundage that provides students with the necessary background and context to appreciate the role of Up From Slavery in American history. It addresses Washington’s life and career, criticisms of Washington from within the African American community, the social and political context in which the book was published, reactions to its publication, and the ways in which Washington carefully crafted his autobiography to further his cause among white audiences. Document headnotes, a chronology of Washington’s life, questions for consideration, and a selected bibliography provide further pedagogical support.
From this Armageddon rose this Moses, Booker Taliaferro Washington, who was born in 1856 in Virginia, of a slave mother and a white father he never knew. But he gave no indication in his autobiography of the pain this almost certainly caused him: "I do not even know his name. I have heard reports to the effect that he was a white man who lived on one of the nearby plantations. But I do not find especial fault with him. He was simply another unfortunate victim of the institution which the nation unhappily had engrafted upon it at that time." After Emancipation, Washington began to dream of getting an education and resolved to go to the Hampton Normal Agricultural Institute in Virginia. When he arrived, he was allowed to work as the school's janitor in return for his board and part of his tuition. After graduating from Hampton, Washington was selected to head a new school for blacks at Tuskegee, Alabama, where he taught the virtues of "patience, thrift, good manners and high morals" as the keys to empowerment.
An unabashed self-promoter (Tuskegee was dependent upon the largesse of its white benefactors) and advocate of accommodation, Washington's "pick yourself up by your bootstraps" and "be patient and prove yourself first" philosophy was simultaneously acclaimed by the masses, who prescribed to self-reliance, and condemned by the black intelligentsia, who demanded a greater and immediate inclusion in the social, political, and economic fabric of this emerging nation. Washington's philosophy struck a chord that played like a symphony within the racial politics of the times. It gave a glimmer of hope to the black masses; it created for whites a much-needed locus for their veneer of social concern—funds flooded into Tuskegee Institute; and finally, the initiatives of the black intelligentsia, led by W. E. B. Du Bois, were, for the moment, neutralized.
Washington "believed that the story of his life was a typical American success story," and he redefined "success" to make it so: "I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in his life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed." His powerfully simple philosophy that self-help is the key to overcoming obstacles of racism and poverty has resonated among African Americans of all political stripes, from Marcus Garvey to Louis Farrakhan.
Introduction: An Exemplary Citizen
Writing Up From Slavery
Critical Response to Up From Slavery
Washington's Leadership Style
Up From Slavery and Traditions of Black Autobiography
Washington's Program of Racial Uplift
Washington's Career After Up From Slavery
Up From Slavery
1. Timothy Thomas Fortune, Letter to Booker T. Washington, 1895
2. Booker T. Washington, Letter to Ednah Dow Littlehale Cheney, 1895
3. Booker T. Washington, An Open Letter to Benjamin Ryan Tillman, 1895
4. Booker T. Washington, A Statement on Southern Politics, 1900
5. Booker T. Washington, Letter to John A. Hertel, 1900
6. Lyman Abbott, Letter to Booker T. Washington, 1900
7. Booker T. Washington, Letter to Lyman Abbott, 1900
8. W. E. B. Du Bois, Book Review of Up From Slavery, 1901
9. William Dean Howells, A Review of Up From Slavery, 1901
10. Booker T. Washington, Letter to Edgar Gardner Murphy, 1904
11. Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Booker T. Washington and His Critics, 1904
A Washington Chronology (1856-1915)
Questions for Consideration
Posted May 28, 2010
I had heard often of Booker T. Washington and of his work at Tuskegee Institute, but never really knew much about him beyond just the name recognition. This autobiography was a good way to find out more about him, his life, and his philosophies - most all of which I agree with and think we could use more of these days (both black and white people).
The one criticism I have of the book is that the introduction by Louis Harlan is very long and I think would be better as an Epilogue. I found myself reading it going "o.k., o.k., just let me read the book". I ended up going back and rereading a lot of the introduction again, which puts the book and Mr. Washington into historical context, when I was done. I would recommend just skipping the introduction and reading it when you are done with the book. - - It does offer some insights though.
6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 8, 2011
When this book was converted to an ebook, the publisher didn't bother to check to see if the e-version was readable. Not all of the characters/letters were converted properly so there are numerous words on every page that can be barely read because the letters are jumbled or incorrect.
The original book by Booker T. Washington was terrific, but if you want to read it, buy a different version. This one is terrible.
4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 6, 2012
If you want to know how adult education really ought to be taught, you should read Booker T. Washington's autobiography "Up from Slavery". He was one of the greatest educators in history. His methods and determination to provide a high quality education to older teens and young adults proved to be of great worth to many men and women of different ethnic backgrounds. He went beyond "book learning" and provided a means for his students to learn life's skills and how to be good citizens in a most difficult time period in our history. His model and style of education still applies today, and, if they were taken seriously, could solve many of of education issues. I highly recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in how education should really be.
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 28, 2013
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Posted February 22, 2013
I am only giving it three stars because I have not read it, just wanted to say that there are many many of this book in the NOOK library, all titled "Up from Slavery". I do not know if this one is different, I just know that they are all pretty much the same title and all the same author.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 10, 2012
Lots of Im famous but Im still humble. Although an important record its still a pitch article for funding in exchange for gritty rags-to-riches backstory.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 19, 2012
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Posted May 6, 2012
What a great story of a man who really believed that people needed to find a skill that made them feel useful and worthy. Very well written and I learned a lot about him.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 14, 2011
The content of this book is riveting and hard to put down...but this nook version is so filled with errors and typos it is difficult to read. this by far is the worst nook edition i have encountered with regard to accuracy.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 31, 2011
Posted June 18, 2011
Posted April 8, 2011
I knew nothing about Booker T. Washington--until now!
What a strong and determined man he was. He held no grudges and spent his entire life helping fellow African-Americans succeed, despite the odds against them at the time. He led an interesting life and made his way up from nothing to becoming a successful, world-renowned educator, orator, author and political leader. I highly recommend this book!
Posted April 6, 2007
Posted June 29, 2004
This standard reading for high schoolers is a How-To book for people wanting to sup @ the white mans table.
0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 10, 2011
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Posted February 11, 2011
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