Up from Slavery

by Booker T. Washington

Up from Slavery

Up from Slavery is the 1901 autobiography of Booker T. Washington detailing his slow and steady rise from a slave child during the Civil War, to the difficulties and obstacles he overcame to get an education at the new Hampton University, to his work establishing vocational schools (most notably the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama), to helping black people and other disadvantaged minorities learn useful, marketable skills and work to pull themselves, as a race, up by the bootstraps. He reflects on the generosity of both teachers and philanthropists who helped in educating blacks and native Americans.

Source: Washington, B. T. (1901). Up From Slavery.

The Author explains the incidents that lead to the writing of his autobiography.
An introduction to the original text, written by Walter H. Page.
Chapter 1: A Slave Among Slaves
The author's earliest memories of childhood and the conditions in which his family lived and worked are explained.
Chapter 2: Boyhood Days
Newfound freedom gives the Washington family the opportunity to move. The author further realizes the importance of an education.
Chapter 3: The Struggle For An Education
While working in the salt mines, Booker hears of an opportunity to pursue an education.
Chapter 4: Helping Others
The author's experiences at school and back at home give him an even greater appreciation of the value of kindness, as well as the importance of education as a means of achieving equality.
Chapter 5: The Reconstruction Period
This chapter, covering the years 1867 to 1878, gives the author's first hand account of his experiences during the Reconstruction period, as well as a critique of the Federal Government's actions following the Civil War.
Chapter 6: Black Race and Red Race
The author agrees to return to Hampton as an instructor.
Chapter 7: Early Days at Tuskegee
The author is asked to start a new school in Tuskegee. As Booker prepares to procure a building for the new school, he observes the conditions and behaviors of the people of Tuskegee, always remaining hopeful.
Chapter 8: Teaching School in a Stable and a Hen House
The Tuskegee School opens despite a number of setbacks. Booker turns to the community for contributions.
Chapter 9: Anxious Days and Sleepless Nights
The arrival of the holiday season allows Booker to observe more of the local customs. The school continues to work towards expansion.
Chapter 10: A Harder Task Than Making Bricks Without Straw
Booker implements an unorthodox plan for the new construction, and works to overcome the objections of prospective students and their parents.
Chapter 11: Making Their Beds Before They Could Lie On Them
The Tuskegee Institute receives an esteemed guest. Booker's long-standing beliefs begin to change with his continued positive experiences with the southern whites.
Chapter 12: Raising Money
As the Tuskegee Institute continues to expand, the author pays a visit to General Armstrong of the Hampton Institute to secure the needed funding.
Chapter 13: Two Thousand Miles For a Five Minute Speech
The Tuskegee Institute creates a new program to allow the less privileged to attend. The author's skills as a public speaker put him in a position of high demand.
Chapter 14: The Atlanta Exposition Address
The author's speech at the Atlanta Exposition allows for even more opportunity for increased exposure and development of the Tuskegee Institute, but the it is not without it's detractors.
Chapter 15: The Secret of Success in Public Speaking
The author continues his work as a public speaker while still devoting himself to the prosperity of the Tuskegee Institute.
Chapter 16: Europe
Booker's travels throughout Europe introduce him to a number of new teaching methods, as well as instilling a since of hope for equality in the United States.
Chapter 17: Last Words
An old friend and mentor passes away. The author ponders the distance he has traveled in the previous twenty years of his life.
  • Year Published: 1901
  • Language: English
  • Country of Origin: United States of America
  • Readability:
    • Flesch–Kincaid Level: 9.9
  • Word Count: 78,196
  • Genre: Memoir
  • Keywords: 20th century literature, african-american literature, american literature, autobiography, biography, southern authors
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