Up From Slavery: An Autobiography (Slave Narratives - Booker T. Washington) Info

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Up From Slavery - An Autobiography by Booker T. Washington - The
details of Mr. Washington's early life, as frankly set down in "Up from
Slavery," do not give quite a whole view of his education. He had the
training that a coloured youth receives at Hampton, which, indeed, the
autobiography does explain. But the reader does not get his intellectual
pedigree, for Mr. Washington himself, perhaps, does not as clearly
understand it as another man might. The truth is he had a training
during the most impressionable period of his life that was very
extraordinary, such a training as few men of his generation have had. To
see its full meaning one must start in the Hawaiian Islands half a
century or more ago.* There Samuel Armstrong, a youth of missionary
parents, earned enough money to pay his expenses at an American college.
Equipped with this small sum and the earnestness that the undertaking
implied, he came to Williams College when Dr. Mark Hopkins was
president. Williams College had many good things for youth in that day,
as it has in this, but the greatest was the strong personality of its
famous president. Every student does not profit by a great teacher; but
perhaps no young man ever came under the influence of Dr. Hopkins, whose
whole nature was so ripe for profit by such an experience as young
Armstrong. He lived in the family of President Hopkins, and thus had a
training that was wholly out of the common; and this training had much
to do with the development of his own strong character, whose
originality and force we are only beginning to appreciate. This volume
is the outgrowth of a series of articles, dealing with incidents in my
life, which were published consecutively in the Outlook. While they were
appearing in that magazine I was constantly surprised at the number of
requests which came to me from all parts of the country, asking that the
articles be permanently preserved in book form. I am most grateful to
the Outlook for permission to gratify these requests. I have tried to
tell a simple, straightforward story, with no attempt at embellishment.
My regret is that what I have attempted to do has been done so
imperfectly. The greater part of my time and strength is required for
the executive work connected with the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial
Institute, and in securing the money necessary for the support of the
institution. Much of what I have said has been written on board trains,
or at hotels or railroad stations while I have been waiting for trains,
or during the moments that I could spare from my work while at Tuskegee.
Without the painstaking and generous assistance of Mr. Max Bennett
Thrasher I could not have succeeded in any satisfactory degree.

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