Born in a slave hut APRIL 5, 1856, was Booker T. Washington. In dire poverty after the Civil War, he moved to West Virginia to work in a salt furnace and coal mine. At age 16 he walked 500 miles to attend Hampton Institute in Virginia and later Wayland Baptist Seminary in Washington, DC. He then taught in West Virginia until he founded Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, where he recruited George Washington Carver as a professor. At his death, the school had 1,500 students and a faculty of 200 teaching 38 trades.
The first African American to have his image on a U.S. coin and postage stamp, Booker T. Washington wrote in Up From Slavery, 1901:
If no other consideration had convinced me of the value of the Christian life, the Christlike work which the Church of all denominations in America has done during the last 35 years for the elevation of the black man would have made me a Christian.
Of his speech in Atlanta, 1895, Booker T. Washington wrote:
The afternoon papers had forecasts of the next days’ proceedings in flaring headlines…I did not sleep much that night…The next morning…I also kneeled down and asked God’s blessing…I make it a rule never to go before an audience…without asking the blessing of God upon what I want to say.
The Moral Liberal contributing editor, William J. Federer, is the bestselling author of “Backfired: A Nation Born for Religious Tolerance no Longer Tolerates Religion,” and numerous other books. A frequent radio and television guest, his daily American Minute is broadcast nationally via radio, television, and Internet. Check out all of Bill’s books here