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

9. Social

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Activities: Author Activities

Booker T. Washington - Selected Archive Items

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[1824] Palmer, Instructor and Three Graduates with Diplomas and Geraniums (1905),
courtesy of the Wm. B. Becker Collection/photography museum.com.
Former slave Booker T. Washington was deeply involved with the Tuskegee Institute throughout his life-time. Washington advocated vocational training for African Americans as a means by which they could achieve economic advancement. His social philosophy was later criticized by such figures as W. E. B. Du Bois.

[3079] Richmond Barth, Bust of Booker T. Washington (c. 1920),
courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration [NWDNS-H-HN-BAR-38].
Washington was the most prominent African American at the turn of the twentieth century; he worked for most of his life to expand and support Tuskegee College in Alabama; his best-known literary work is Up from Slavery.

[6937] R. V. Randolph, Booker T. Washington (1913),
courtesy of the Library of Congress, Printed Ephemera Collection [Portfolio 189, Folder 2a].
This poetic tribute, published as a broadside, reads, in part, "Now 'Tuskegee and its People' know, / That fitness and efficiency win; / The Negro in Business will show, / The methods make a place for men"--an apt reference to Washington's vision that education in the mechanical arts would raise African Americans from their subjugated status.

[7852] Arthur Rothstein, Tuskegee Institute, Alabama Students (1942),
courtesy of the Library of Congress [LC-USW3-000237-D].
Now designated a historic site by the National Park system, Tuskegee Institute was the lifelong project of Booker T. Washington and also the site of George Washington Carver's revolutionary agricultural experiments.

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