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Up from Slavery: An Autobiography [Paperback]

By Booker T. Washington (Author)
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Item description for Up from Slavery: An Autobiography by Booker T. Washington...

The Black educator documents his struggle for freedom and self-respect and his fight to establish industrial training programs

Publishers Description
Selected by the Modern Library as one of the 100 best nonfiction books of all time
In Up from Slavery, Washington recounts the story of his life--from slave to educator. The early sections deal with his upbringing as a slave and his efforts to get an education. Washington details his transition from student to teacher, and outlines his own development as an educator and founder of the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. In the final chapters of Up From Slavery, Washington describes his career as a public speaker and civil rights activist.

Citations And Professional Reviews
Up from Slavery: An Autobiography by Booker T. Washington has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
  • Wilson Public Library Catalog - 01/01/1998 page 843

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Modern Library
Pages   220
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.04" Width: 5.25" Height: 0.55"
Weight:   0.45 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   May 11, 1999
Publisher   Modern Library
ISBN  0679640142  
ISBN13  9780679640141  

Availability  0 units.

More About Booker T. Washington

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Booker T. Washington (1856-1915) was born a slave on a Virginia farm. Later freed, he headed and developed the Tuskegee Institute and became a leader in education. Widely considered a spokesman for his people, he emphasized social concern in three books as well as his autobiography.
Ishmael Reed is one of America's most renowned African-American writers. He is the author of plays, poetry and novels, including Japanese by Spring. He lives in Oakland, California.

Booker T. Washington lived in the state of Alabama. Booker T. Washington was born in 1856 and died in 1915.

Booker T. Washington has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Dover Thrift Editions
  2. Oxford World's Classics (Paperback)
  3. Pelican Pouch Series
  4. Penguin Classics
  5. Tantor Unabridged Classics

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > Ethnic & National > African-American & Black
2Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > Ethnic & National > General
3Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > General

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Reviews - What do customers think about Up from Slavery: An Autobiography?

The Force That Wins  May 13, 2008
Up from Slavery, autobiography by Booker T. Washington, is a true classic in African-American literature. Washington opens Chapter 1: "A Slave Among Slaves" with his vivid recollections as a Negro child growing up in the South: a slave on a plantation in Virginia, a white father he never knew, illiterate and living in horrid conditions. After the emancipation of slaves, Washington's family moves to West Virginia where he labors at the salt furnace and in the coal mines. In his precious few moments of spare time, he learns to read and gains enough confidence to leave everything behind to journey to the Hampton Institute. Later, because of his success at Hampton, he is given the opportunity to start Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. Tuskegee Institute is successful partly due to Washington's extensive travel to the North to solicit funds for the school. The students at Tuskegee, in addition to the day-to-day traditional class work, are expected to learn an industrious trade and to work at mastering that trade. Based on his own life experience, Washington believes that the most prudent way the Negro race will persevere is through this combination of education, hard work and service to others. He believes that the White race will come to appreciate the Negro race only if the Negro people prove their worth to society. Because of his passive stance, many, such as W.E.B. DuBois, et. al., labeled Washington as "The Great Accomodator." In other words, accommodating those who were the enslavers instead of advocating for the rights of those who were enslaved. You can get a sense of this in Washington's most notable speech, the address to the Atlanta Cotton States and International Exposition of 1895:

"The wisest among my race understand that the agitation of questions of social equality is the extremist folly, and that progress in the enjoyment of all the privileges that will come to us must be the result of severe and constant struggle rather than artificial forcing."

This speech brought national acclaim to Booker T. Washington and, at the time, placed him in the forefront as one of the leading authorities of his race.
Accommodationist or Uncle Tom?  Mar 30, 2008
Washington was born into slavery as a result of his mother having been raped by her master. This autobiography is a recounting of his struggle from slavery to freedom and on to getting an education and becoming a teacher and then an educational administrator as well as a "Black politician."

In American culture, this narrative is cast as the quintessential "raise yourself by your boot strap" kind of story. In fact when I was in the First Grade, I can remember my First grade teacher, Mrs. Pogue, singing the praises of "the Great Booker T. Washington."

And while there is a great deal to admire about Mr. Washington, there is also a side that only came to light after hearing the other side of his story. Washington was called an "accommodationist," "or "the great compromiser," which in the context of the times were euphemisms for being an "Uncle Tom," or the HNIC. He was good at maneuvering his way around in a racist white culture thinking that he was doing his people a great deal of good when in fact he was being taken advantage of, or when he was in fact consciously "selling his people out." By making a "virtue, out of personal necessity," Washington always had a good justification for his action and eventually became the prototype of this kind of black politician. Many Black preachers still use the Washington template for handling cross-racial situations. Plus how else were blacks to negotiate the difficult racist political terrain of those difficult times?

In the book, for instance, he eschews and discourages blacks from seeking a liberal arts education and from attending college, as being frivolous. He argued for the more practical area of the "manual arts," and "the trades." While this may have been useful -- even good advice -- in the context of the times, there were others of his contemporaries, such as WEB Dubois, who saw Washington's approach as strictly a formulaic kind of Uncle Tomism. And the embarrassing treatment of him at the 1905 World's Fair, kind of sealed this image of him as a Black Uncle Tom by blacks and a "stooge" by whites.

While the book is a good read, in retrospect, it shows Washington to have been very naïve politically, and too trusting of "the white man," who it seems never quite saw the world as he did and neither had Washington's, nor the black race's best interests in mind. Maybe it is a bit harsh to judge his action after the fact, but all other black leaders are judged by the same criteria and they come out unblemished, while Washington's accommodationist methods do not seem to have held up well over time nor have they bore any fruit.

Three Stars
The Virtues of an Education  Mar 20, 2008
Booker T. Washington never blames slavery for his problems. Instead he looks forward to the future, and works hard to create a school that helps
black people.
He has a positive attitude which attracts the help he needs to build his school. We can all learn from Booker T. Washington.
Very inspiring.
I loved this book.
An Amazing Human Being  Nov 23, 2007
This book is one in a vast library of African American literary history that I posses. It is academically written, yet very easy to read. The contents of this text continue to inspire my will to be a great humanitarian, world citizen, and advocate for African education, science, medicine, and unity
Booker T. Washington  Aug 8, 2007
Very interesting perspective on slavery from someone who actually lived through it. All slave tales are not alike.

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