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Booker T. Washington Builder of a Civilization   By: (1873-1957)

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First Page:


Builder of a Civilization



With a Preface by Theodore Roosevelt

[Illustration: logo]

Illustrated from Photographs

Garden City New York Doubleday, Page & Company 1918

Copyright, 1916, by Doubleday, Page & Company All rights reserved, including that of translation into foreign languages, including the Scandinavian

Copyright, 1916, by the Outlook Publishing Co.

[Illustration: BOOKER T. WASHINGTON]


In the passing of a character so unique as Dr. Booker T. Washington, many of us, his friends, were anxious that his biography should be written by those best qualified to do so. It is therefore a source of gratification to us of his own race to have an account of Dr. Washington's career set forth in a form at once accurate and readable, such as will inspire unborn generations of Negroes and others to love and appreciate all mankind of whatever race or color. It is especially gratifying that this biography has been prepared by the two people in all America best fitted, by antecedents and by intimate acquaintance and association with Dr. Washington, to undertake it. Mr. Lyman Beecher Stowe is the grandson of Harriet Beecher Stowe, whose "Uncle Tom's Cabin" had a very direct influence on the abolition of slavery, and Mr. Emmett J. Scott was Dr. Washington's loyal and trusted secretary for eighteen years.

ROBERT R. MOTON. Principal Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute.

Tuskegee Institute, Alabama, August 1, 1916.


This is not a biography in the ordinary sense. The exhaustive "Life and Letters of Booker T. Washington" remains still to be compiled. In this more modest work we have simply sought to present and interpret the chief phases of the life of this man who rose from a slave boy to be the leader of ten millions of people and to take his place for all time among America's great men. In fact, we have not even touched upon his childhood, early training, and education, because we felt the story of those early struggles and privations had been ultimately well told in his own words in "Up from Slavery." This autobiography, however, published as it was fifteen years before his death, brings the story of his life only to the threshold of his greatest achievements. In this book we seek to give the full fruition of his life's work. Each chapter is complete in itself. Each presents a complete, although by no means exhaustive, picture of some phase of his life.

We take no small satisfaction in the fact that we were personally selected by Booker Washington himself for this task. He considered us qualified to produce what he wanted: namely, a record of his struggles and achievements at once accurate and readable, put in permanent form for the information of the public. He believed that such a record could best be furnished by his confidential associate, working in collaboration with a trained and experienced writer, sympathetically interested in the welfare of the Negro race. This, then, is what we have tried to do and the way we have tried to do it.

We completed the first four chapters before Mr. Washington's death, but he never read them. In fact, it was our wish, to which he agreed, that he should not read what we had written until its publication in book form.



It is not hyperbole to say that Booker T. Washington was a great American. For twenty years before his death he had been the most useful, as well as the most distinguished, member of his race in the world, and one of the most useful, as well as one of the most distinguished, of American citizens of any race.

Eminent though his services were to the people of his own color, the white men of our Republic were almost as much indebted to him, both directly and indirectly. They were indebted to him directly, because of the work he did on behalf of industrial education for the Negro, thus giving impetus to the work for the industrial education of the White Man, which is, at least, as necessary; and, moreover, every successful effort to turn the thoughts of the natural leaders of the Negro race into the fields of business endeavor, of agricultural effort, of every species of success in private life, is not only to their advantage, but to the advantage of the White Man, as tending to remove the friction and trouble that inevitably come throughout the South at this time in any Negro district where the Negroes turn for their advancement primarily to political life... Continue reading book >>

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