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Table of Contents
For more information, see the Booker T. Washington fact file below or download the 34 page comprehensive worksheet pack which can be utilised within the classroom or home environment.
- Booker Taliaferro Washington was born on April 5, 1856, in Franklin County, Virginia. His mother, Jane, worked as a cook for plantation owner James Burroughs. His father was an unknown white man, most likely from a nearby plantation.
- During this era, the child of a slave also became a slave, and Booker carried sacks of grain to the plantation mill and was beaten on occasion for not performing his duties well.
- After the Civil War, Booker and his mother moved to Malden, West Virginia, where she married freedman Washington Ferguson, from whom Booker took his last name.
- In 1866, Washington got a job as a houseboy while attending grade school in Virginia.
- With the goal of education, Washington left home in 1872 and walked 500 miles to Hampton Normal Agricultural Institute in Virginia. He convinced the school administrators to let him attend school and pay his tuition as a school janitor. Soon he was noticed by the school’s founder and headmaster, General Samuel C. Armstrong, who offered him a scholarship. Armstrong later became his mentor.
- In 1875, Washington graduated from Hampton and taught at his old grade school in Malden, Virginia. He attended Wayland Seminary in Washington, D.C. and in 1879, was chosen to speak at Hampton’s graduation ceremonies, where General Armstrong then offered him a teaching job in his school.
- In 1881, the Alabama legislature approved a school for colored people – the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute (now Tuskegee University), where General Armstrong recommended Washington to be head.
TUSKEGEE NORMAL AND INDUSTRIAL INSTITUTE
- Tuskegee became a leading school in the country as Washington put much of himself into the school’s curriculum, stressing the virtues of patience, enterprise and thrift.
- In 1895, Washington publicly put forth his philosophy on race relations in a speech at the Cotton States and International Exposition in Atlanta, Georgia, known as the “Atlanta Compromise”.
- In his speech, he said that African Americans should accept disenfranchisement and social segregation as long as whites allow them economic progress, educational opportunity and justice in the courts. The African-American community, especially in the north, detested his philosophy.
- An activist, W.E.B. Du Bois (who was working as a professor at Atlanta University at the time), criticized Washington for not demanding equality for African-Americans, as granted by the 14th Amendment.
DEATH AND LEGACY
- President Roosevelt invited Washington to the White House in 1901, making Washington the first African-American to be given the honor. Both Roosevelt and his successor, Taft, used Washington as an adviser on racial matters, partly because he accepted racial subservience.
- His White House visit and the publication of his autobiography, Up from Slavery, brought him both acclaim and indignation from many Americans.
- While Washington was openly seen as a supporter of African-Americans taking a “back seat” to whites, he secretly financed several court cases challenging segregation. By 1913, he lost much of his influence. The Wilson administration supported racial integration and African-American equality.
- Washington remained the head of Tuskegee Institute until his death on November 14, 1915, at the age of 59, of congestive heart failure.
Quick Key Facts
Date of Birth
April 5, 1856
Date of Death
November 14, 1915
Place of Birth
Hales’s Ford, Virginia
Father was an unknown white plantation owner.
His mother, Jane was an enslaved black woman.
Washington was married three times.
First he was married to Fannie N. Smith.
After Fannie died he met and married Olivia A. Davidson.
After Olivia died, he married Margaret James Murray.
Booker had three children: Portia M. Washington with his first wife;
two sons with his second wife, Booker T. Washington, Jr. and Ernest Davidson Washington.
There were no children from his third marriage.
Booker’s mother was a major influence on his schooling.
She enrolled him in an elementary school, where Booker took the last name of Washington
because he found out that other children had more than one name.
Washington enrolled at the Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institue.
He later attended the Wayland Seminary.
American political leader, educator, orator and author
Reason for Fame
Washington was the dominant figure in the African American
community in the United States from 1890 to 1915.
Booker returned to teach at Hampton and later became the first
principal at Tuskegee Institute.
Booker T. Washington Worksheets
This bundle includes 34 pages of ready-to-use Booker T. Washington worksheets that are perfect for students to learn about Booker Taliaferro Washington who was an African-American educator, author, orator, and advisor to presidents of the United States. Between 1890 and 1915, Washington was the dominant leader in the African-American community.
This download includes the following worksheets:
- Booker T. Washington Facts
- BTW Facts
- Into the White House
- Two Nations of Black America
- Choosing Sides
- BTW Writings I
- BTW Writings II
- BTW’s Famous Quotes
- The Atlanta Exposition Address I
- The Atlanta Exposition Address II
- My Own Atlanta Exposition Address
Worksheet collection 2:
- Booker T. Washington Facts
- Up from slavery
- Ghost Writers
- Feed Your Mind
- The Atlanta Exposition Address
- Modified TRUE or FALSE
- Negro Exhibition
- Five Books
- His Legacy
- Into the Whitehouse
- Color Me!
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Use With Any Curriculum
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