His Early Life
Booker T. Washington (April 5, 1856-Nov. 14, 1915) is known for creating Tuskegee University, delivering the Atlanta Compromise speech, and his public rivalry with W.E.B Dubois. Washington was born to a Black woman and a white plantation owner who has not been named. Between 1856 and 65, Washington moved from Virginia to West Virginia were he began working at the salt furnaces at nine years-old. Washington’s mother taught him to read, inciting a life-long fervor for education.
In 1872, when he was 16, Washington went to Virginia to study at Hampton Normal Agricultural Institute. He worked as a janitor to pay for his education and would go on to meet General Samuel C. Armstrong, a former union commander that wanted to provide an education for the formerly enslaved Blacks. Armstrong was impressed with him and offered Washington a teaching position at the institute.