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American Passages: A Literary SurveyUnit IndexAmerican Passages Home
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3. Utopian Promise   



9. Social
Realism


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•  Using the Video
•  Authors
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•  Activities
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Activities: Author Activities


Booker T. Washington - Author Questions

Back Back to Booker T. Washington Activities
  1. Comprehension: Washington closes Chapter 15 of Up from Slavery with some reflections on time management and organization. What kind of lessons and life tips does he impart to his readers? What values underlie his manner of structuring his work and leisure?

  2. Context: Like Henry Adams, Washington uses his autobiography as an occasion to reflect on his own education and his educational philosophy more generally. How do Washington's ideas about education compare to Adams's? How might the two men's radically different backgrounds contribute to their different ideas on what constitutes a useful education?

  3. Context: Examine the bust of Washington and the broadside poem celebrating his accomplishments featured in the archive. What vision of Washington as a man and as a leader do these pieces construct? How did Washington contribute to his own mythology in Up from Slavery?

  4. Exploration: Many scholars have argued that Washington consciously modeled Up from Slavery on Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography. What do these two texts have in common? What structures and tropes does Washington borrow from Franklin? How does his life story complicate Franklin's construction of an exemplary American identity?



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