Washington was a great man, and his teachings and ideas helped form one of the most revolutionizing institutions of this century. His advice to those of his race " Cast down your bucket where you are" telling his people that in order to better yourself and your conditions in a foreign land you must not underestimate the importance of making friends with your neighbors which is the white man. His ideas that hard work and education could get an African American somewhere were truly different for his time. He believed and taught that merit is what counted, and as long as you could do something, and be a valuable asset to your community, then you"d be accepted as an integral part of your community by all people, black and white. He believes that every persecuted individual and race should get much consolation out of the great human law, which is universal and eternal, that merit, no matter under what skin found, is in the long run recognized and rewarded. " Born into slavery Washington had worked his way out of poverty after acquiring an education (at Virginia's Hampton Institute). He urged other blacks to follow the same road to self- improvement." Booker T. Washington teaches that if you work hard and can learn the basic skills, and a useful task, then you will be set in your life. Washinton states that if you have the right education, you work hard and you help your race and community, then you would be on your way towards equality, because merit is the great equalizer. Samuel E. Courtney an African American teacher in .
Alabama did all those things. He had the proper education, he worked hard, and he tried to build up his race in his community. However, even though Samuel was basically Washington's perfect model for a black man, things still did not work out for Samuel. The life of Samuel E. Courtney is a direct contradiction of the teachings of Booker T. Washington. Washington was a strong believer in the promise of education.