To serve the cause of human freedom, a person has to be brave, a leader, patient and unselfish. Throughout history many people have fought for what they believed in to gain freedom for their people. One man who did this is Booker T. Washington. Washington was an African American advocate who wanted nothing other than to see racism decline and have equality between blacks and whites. His courageous spirit not only changed history forever, but paved the way for new leaders to take a stand as well.
Booker Taliaferro Washington was born on April 5th, 1856 in Franklin County, Virginia. He was born on a plantation owned by James Burroughs. Washington was raised by his mother Jane. Little is know about his father. "I had heard reports to the extent that he was a white man who lived on the nearby plantations. Whoever he was, I never heard of his taking the least bit interest in me or providing in any way for my rearing" (Washington 4). His mother had him work as early as possible. Since it was illegal for a slave to learn how to read and write, Washington received no education. After the Civil War, most slaves had no place to go. Booker's stepfather was lucky enough to find work as a salt packer in Malden, West Virginia. Jane moved Booker and his 2 siblings, his older brother John and his sister Amanda, to work with her husband. Booker spent his days packing salt and going to school. At age 16 he decided he wanted to go to Hampton Institute in Virginia. This was a school that taught and trained black teachers. "A friend of the principal paid his tuition, and he worked as a janitor to earn his room and board" (Washington, Booker Taliaferro). .
"After graduation he taught for two years in Malden and then studied at Wayland Seminary, in Washington, D.C. In 1979 he became an instructor at Hampton Institute, where he helped to organize a night school and was in charge of the industrial training of 75 Native Americans.