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Booker T. Washington’s classic memoir of enslavement, emancipation, and community advancement in the Reconstruction Era.
Born into slavery on a tobacco farm in nineteenth-century Virginia, Booker T. Washington became one of the most powerful intellectuals of the Reconstruction Era. As president of the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, he advocated for the advancement of African Americans through education and entrepreneurship. In Up from Slavery, Washington speaks frankly and honestly about his enslavement and emancipation, struggle to receive an education, and life’s work as an educator.
In great detail, Washington describes establishing the Tuskegee Institute, from teaching its first classes in a hen house to building a prominent institution through community organization and a national fundraising campaign. He also addresses major issues of the era, such as the Jim Crow laws, Ku Klux Klan, and “false foundation” of Reconstruction policy.
Up From Slavery is based on biographical articles written for the Christian newspaper Outlook and includes the full text of Washington’s revolutionary Atlanta Exposition address. First published in 1901, this powerful autobiography remains a landmark of African American literature as well as an important firsthand account of post–Civil War American history.
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