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Up From Slavery: An Autobiography

by Booker Washington

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About Book

Nineteenth-century African American businessman, activist, and educator Booker Taliaferro Washington's Up from Slavery is one of the greatest American autobiographies ever written. Its mantras of black economic empowerment, land ownership, and self-help inspired generations of black leaders, including Marcus Garvey, Elijah Muhammad, Malcolm X, and Louis Farrakhan. In rags-to-riches fashion, Washington recounts his ascendance from early life as a mulatto slave in Virginia to a 34-year term as president of the influential, agriculturally based Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. From that position, Washington reigned as the most important leader of his people, with slogans like "cast down your buckets," which emphasized vocational merit rather than the academic and political excellence championed by his contemporary rival W.E.B. Du Bois. Though many considered him too accommodating to segregationists, Washington, as he said in his historic "Atlanta Compromise" speech of 1895, believed that "political agitation alone would not save [the Negro]," and that "property, industry, skill, intelligence, and character" would prove necessary to black Americans' success. The potency of his philosophies are alive today in the nationalist and conservative camps that compose the complex quilt of black American society.

From AudioFile
This production offers an exemplary life in sound, with an outstanding reading by Andrew L. Barnes revealing Booker T. Washington as a sagacious American leader by any standard. From the first sentence to the last, Barnes's deep, expressive tones mold Washington's autobiography with a warm, stentorian resonance. In crisp and uncompromising style UP FROM SLAVERY presents a true historical overview of a period of intense cultural and racial change in our country. Washington's wit and humility shine throughout the recording, offering an unvarnished account that can serve as a fine educational tool for schools, libraries, and students of American history and African-American culture. Barnes is a patient, thoughtful reader--his gifts make this a memorable listen. D.J.B. © AudioFile 2006, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine

Book Description
This volume is the outgrowth of a series of articles, dealing with incidents in my life, which were published consecutively in the Outlook. While they were appearing in that magazine I was constantly surprised at the number of requests which came to me from all parts of the country, asking that the articles be permanently preserved in book form. I am most grateful to the Outlook for permission to gratify these requests...Booker T. Washington

Download Description
Vividly recounting Washington's life--his childhood as a slave, struggle for education, founding and presidency of the Tuskegee Institute, and meetings with the country's leaders, this book reveals the conviction he held that the black man's salvation lay in education, industriousness and self-reliance.

From the Publisher
This book is in Electronic Paperback Format. If you view this book on any of the computer systems below, it will look like a book. Simple to run, no program to install. Just put the CD in your CDROM drive and start reading. The simple easy to use interface is child tested at pre-school levels.

Windows 3.11, Windows/95, Windows/98, OS/2 and MacIntosh and Linux with Windows Emulation.

Includes Quiet Vision's Dynamic Index. the abilty to build a index for any set of characters or words.

Inside Flap Copy
The New York Public Library Collector's Edition of Booker T. Washington's incendiary classic is accompanied by a selection of authentic slave narratives and is published to coincide with Black History Month. In addition, the volume is enhanced by a rich mix of archival material from the Library's Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.

About the Author
Booker Taliaferro Washington, the educator and racial spokesman who remains one of the most controversial figures in African-American history, was born into slavery on a tobacco farm in Franklin County, Virginia, on April 5, 1856. His mother was the plantation's cook; his father was an unknown white man. At the close of the Civil War, Washington moved with his mother and stepfather to the river town of Malden, West Virginia, where he toiled in coal mines and salt furnaces, securing a basic education in his spare time. Later he worked as a houseboy for Mrs. Viola Ruffner, a New England woman who recognized his eagerness to advance himself. In 1872 Washington returned to Virginia to enroll in the Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute, a vocational school for blacks founded by Samuel Chapman Armstrong, a former Union general. Washington graduated with honors in 1875. Afterward, he taught school in Malden and briefly attended the Wayland Seminary in Washington, D.C., before accepting an invitation from General Armstrong to join the faculty at Hampton.

In 1881 Washington left Virginia for Alabama, to establish the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute. The school opened on July 4, 1881, with one teacher and thirty pupils. Through skillful management, tireless fund-raising, and shrewd diplomacy with whites, he built Tuskegee, literally brick by brick, into the top black trade school in the country. Like his mentor, General Armstrong, Washington made sure that all skills and academic courses taught at Tuskegee had practical application in the economy of the postwar South. A pragmatist, not an idealist, he endorsed the Puritan virtue of self-help, maintaining, "the individual who can do something that the world wants done will, in the end, make his way regardless of his race."

Washington's well-known success as an educator led to his being asked to speak on racial issues. In 1895 he delivered opening remarks at the Cotton States and International Exposition in Atlanta. In the now-famous Atlanta Compromise Address, Washington urged blacks to postpone their demands for equal rights and focus instead on improving themselves through education, industriousness, and racial solidarity. "In all things that are purely social we can be as separate as the fingers, yet one as the hand in all things essential to mutual progress," he stated. The following year Washington became the first black to receive an honorary Master of Arts degree from Harvard University.

By 1900 Washington, the so-called "Wizard of Tuskegee," had emerged as America's most influential black leader. He launched the National Negro Business League in Boston and, in rapid succession, published two volumes of autobiography: The Story of My Life and Work (1900) and Up from Slavery (1901). William Dean Howells praised Up from Slavery in the North American Review, and Langston Hughes later deemed it "one of America's most revealing books." Washington created a storm of controversy, however, when he dined at the White House with President Theodore Roosevelt to discuss political appointments in the South.

In 1903 Washington's accommodationist position came under attack by W. E. B. Du Bois. In The Souls of Black Folk Du Bois wrote: "His doctrine has tended to make the whites, North and South, shift the burden of the Negro problem to the Negro's shoulders and stand aside as critical and rather pessimistic spectators; when in fact the burden belongs to the nation, and the hands of none of us are clean if we bend not our energies to righting these great wrongs." Soon Washington's leadership was challenged by the militant Niagara Movement, founded in 1905, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, which succeeded it in 1910.

Washington maintained a grueling work schedule during his final years. He also toured Europe and brought out two last books, My Larger Education (1911) and The Man Farthest Down (1912). In November 1915, while visiting New York City on business, Washington was hospitalized. Realizing the gravity of his condition, he insisted on returning home. "I was born in the South, have lived all my life in the South, and expect to die and be buried in the South," he often said. Booker T. Washington arrived in Alabama by train only hours before his death on November 14, 1915. He was buried two days later in the small cemetery on the campus of the Tuskegee Institute.



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