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Booker T. Washington, African-american
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Booker Taliaferro Washington (1856-1915) was an African-American educator and author. He was the dominant figure in the African-American community in America from 1890 to until his death in 1915. He was born into slavery to an enslaved woman, and a white father. He worked his way through Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute and attended college at Wayland Seminary. In 1881 he was named as the first leader of the new Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, a private, black university. Washington attained national prominence for his Atlanta Address of 1895 a verbal agreement between African-American leaders and Southern white leaders. The agreement was that Southern blacks would work weekly, submit to white political rule, would not agitate for equality or integration while Southern whites guaranteed that blacks would receive basic education and Northern whites would fund black educational charities. He was a supporter of education for freedmen in the post-Reconstruction, Jim Crow-era South. He had a nationwide network of supporters including black educators, ministers, editors, and businessmen. He gained access to top national leaders in politics, philanthropy and education, raised large sums, was consulted on race issues and was awarded honorary degrees from leading American universities. His autobiography, Up From Slavery, first published in 1901, is still widely read today. He collapsed in New York City and was brought home to Tuskegee. His health deteriorated rapidly and he died in 1915, at the age of 59. In March 2006, with the permission of his descendants, examination of medical records indicated that he died of hypertension, with a blood pressure more than twice normal.
March 13th, 2013
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