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Booker T. Washington

(1856—1915) American educationist

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US educationist. An emancipated slave, he pursued a career in teaching and was appointed head in 1881 of the newly founded Tuskegee Institute in Alabama for the training of Black teachers. Washington emerged as a leading commentator for Black Americans at the turn of the century and published his influential autobiography, Up from Slavery, in 1901. His emphasis on vocational skills and financial independence for Blacks rather than on intellectual development or political rights, combined with his support for segregation, brought criticism from other Black leaders.

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Works by Booker T. Washington