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Up From Slavery: The Autobiography of Booker T. Washington

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  29,633 ratings  ·  1,613 reviews
"Washington was born into slavery to a white father and a slave mother in a rural area in southwestern Virginia. After emancipation, he worked in West Virginia in a variety of manual labor jobs before making his way to Hampton Roads seeking and education. Washington received national prominence for his Atlanta address in 1895, attracting the attention of politicians and th ...more
164 pages
Published 2010 by Timeless Classics Books (first published 1900)
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Aron Yes, he was an idealist and in many ways too optimistic. But to call this a “propaganda tract” is to dismiss the enormous achievements & accomplishmen…moreYes, he was an idealist and in many ways too optimistic. But to call this a “propaganda tract” is to dismiss the enormous achievements & accomplishments of a man born into slavery, who created an institution that has helped thousands of people come up from poverty, made major contributions to the advancement of science in many fields, and had major positive impact on the lives of countless people & US society as a whole. You don’t have to agree with everything he believed, but it’s a travesty to belittle him. The man is an inspiration & he accomplished more in his lifetime than most humans ever do.(less)
Alex Gordon Maybe Ben Carson? His book, "Gifted Hands"made me a lifetime fan when I read it as a 13 yr old boy in a Christian private school. Both of their storie…moreMaybe Ben Carson? His book, "Gifted Hands"made me a lifetime fan when I read it as a 13 yr old boy in a Christian private school. Both of their stories are full of wisdom... Maybe President Obama? These are just a few extremely wise men who had to navigate through race issues... I know there are many more (less)

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Skylar Burris
It's interesting that with all the emphasis on "multiculturalism" when I was going through school, we never actually read any first source books like "Up From Slavery." However, I can see why some modern educators might want to avoid assigning this book: it does violence to a certain brand of philosophy because of its profound anti-victimization message and its focus on individual responsibility, the power of merit to supplant racism, and the necessity of climbing gradually rather than expecting ...more
Scott Rhee
While I admired Booker T. Washington’s ability to see the world so optimistically in his autobiography “Up from Slavery”, it would be a lie to say that I was so greatly impressed by Washington’s story that I would recommend its placement on school reading lists. Considering the plethora of fascinating slave narratives out there, being reprinted and regaining popularity thanks to award-winning films like “Django Unchained” and “12 Years a Slave”, Washington’s memoir about his financial and politi ...more
I enjoyed the first half quite a bit, the latter half much less. I am rating the book, not the man, and my rating only expresses how I personally reacted to the book! I am of the 21st century.

This is an autobiography and it is published long ago - in 1900! Booker T. Washington lived from 1856-1915. He was born a slave on a plantation in Franklin County, Virginia. The exact year of his birth is not known. Some say 1856; he guesses maybe 1858 or 1859. Neither can we identify his father; the guess
Booker T. Washington’s auto-biography pretty much disgusted me. I use such a strong word here because I was disturbed so many times throughout the read. I just can’t bring myself to feel anything other than pure disgust as a result of reading what he referred to as his ‘auto-biography’. This was less of an auto-biography and more of a documentation that served two purposes:

1.) To describe how he created the Tuskegee Institute
2.) To thank all of the white folks who assisted in the above- referenc
May 16, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This second ghost-written autobiography of Booker T. Washington presents the carefully crafted public persona that he wanted. Beneath the mask of a humble, saintly,acetic and patient Negro is a power-hungry, self-aggrandizing man. Washington played his cards close to the vest and was sure that he never offended white people from the North or the South. He curried favor with captains of industry such as Andrew Carnegie and Roger Baldwin who eventually set him up for life. Nevertheless, Washington ...more
On the one hand, this is a really interesting look at the culture of the South during and just after the period of Reconstruction; on the other hand, however, Washington's view of that culture is certainly affected by his wholehearted endorsement of the American Dream, the Horatio Alger myth, and capitalism. While it's important to acknowledge the value of hard work and perseverance and while Washington himself did a great deal of good for African Americans, working for years to develop the Tusk ...more
Oct 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think Up From Slavery is one of the most amazing autobiographies ever written. Booker T. Washington's autobiography was essential to creating the New Negro, the Black American who emerged today. I think Up From Slavery is a humorous and motivational work of strength, determination and perseverance. ...more
Roy Lotz
Judged merely as a book—in eloquence and excitement—this autobiography is fairly mediocre. It begins strong, recounting Washington’s childhood days in slavery, his struggles to educate himself, and the plucky determination which saw him through the founding of the Tuskegee Institute. But by the end, the book devolves into a kind of extended advertisement for Washington’s school and his work, which hardly makes for compelling reading.

But this autobiography is far more than a bit of light readin
Mar 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
No matter how modestly this man tries to tell his story, the facts of his life shine with the luster of greatness. Booker T. Washington spent his early childhood as a slave on a plantation in the south. After the Emancipation Proclamation was read from the porch steps of the “Big House,” Booker’s ambitions to gain an education and make something of himself propelled him through every obstacle to his goal. Booker T. Washington was a tireless promoter of education for his race and of Tuskegee, the ...more
Aug 01, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Booker T Washington was a very admirable figure, but his book is pretty dull. Besides, his silences about major issues, such as racial segregation, forced disenfranchisment, violence against black people (lynchings), and violent racial uprisings in the south at this time, are, I think, loud silences which beg the question of who his audience is intended to be. Rather than as an honest autobiography, I read this book as an overt plea to the upper class whites, for funding for his school. It was m ...more
Sheryl Tribble
Mar 01, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It amazes me how many people *still* blow off Booker T. Washington as an "Uncle Tom." There is no doubt in my mind that when Washington said, "I pity from the bottom of my heart any individual who is so unfortunate as to get into the habit of holding race prejudice," he knew full well that the primary goal of a racist is to feel superior to someone, and that therefore his pity would offend them more than anything else he could offer or say.

Or how about this one -- "In my contact with people I fi
Booker T. Washington is officially added to my list of favorite people. His positive and nonjudgmental attitude is exemplary in so many ways. His way of stepping back, seeing a situation for what it really is, unprejudiced by pride or excessive passion, is truly amazing. His insights are so valuable that I think this book should be required reading for everyone.

Washington was born a slave, and was about 8 years old when Emancipation came. Life was little better afterwards, though, for a while. H
Sierra Abrams
Booker T. Washington: once a slave, beat down and told he could do nothing, accomplish nothing; now an example to all men, white and colored, raised above others. Why? Hard work and a desire to do good in this world. He accomplished more than a lot, from getting into a school by sweeping and cleaning a room, to teaching at a night school, to starting Tuskegee, to speaking at huge events at which no black man had ever spoken. He met great men, did great things, built a great community, and loved ...more
Steven Walle
Jan 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a very well written book of a very intelagent man who faught his way through slavery to the fear of freedom and beyond. His first and only goal was education which was his kee to his own personal freedom.
Enjoy and Be Blessed
I so do honor and respect this man. America needs more leaders like Booker T. Washington.

My review: Up From Slavery

Donald Powell
This book kept my interest at all times. It is written in straight forward prose and explains the author's philosophy and life story. He truly was an American Hero. His approach is easily criticized from various points of view. He backed up his stance with real action and measurable success. I wonder what he would say of the current status of racial relations. A great book everyone should read at least as a catalyst for thought and discussion about what remains as substantial and systemic proble ...more
Feb 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: recent-favorites
4.75 stars (liked a lot)

I really liked this very well written, densely informative, and inspiring autobiography of how Booker T. Washington rose above his position as a slave child during the Civil War and went on to get an education and establish a school, The Tuskegee Institute, in Alabama.  He ultimately traveled the country giving speeches at the highest levels of business and academia and took an extended trip to Europe about which he shares his comparative impressions of people.  The goal
Jan 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, history, non-fic, 2016
This book made me feel like a bit of an asshole.I'm a frequent whiner, my favourite topics usually being how other people are annoying and not getting enough reading time. Booker T. Washington, despite having much more justified complaints than mine, was most definitely not a whiner.

Born into slavery - exactly when he doesn't know - following its abolition, and despite a lack of any money and sometimes even a roof over his head, Washington would not only pursue the education he fiercely wanted b
Vicky Kaseorg
Nov 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the most inspiring books I have read in a long time. Refusing to accept his struggles and poverty and humble beginning as a slave to prevent him form leading a worthy life, this incredible man excels in all he does. If I were feeling sorry for myself and in a pity party, this book would snap me out of it with a resounding smack. Love the message that hard work, perseverance, Godliness, righteousness, and kindness can really change the world.
Nov 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow. I loved this. First published in 1900, this is the best autobiography of a former slave that I have read. Booker T. Washington is one of my heroes! I love his focus on individual responsibility and how he doesn’t fall into the mindset of a victim; he acknowledges the disadvantages faced by the former slaves but he encourages them to work hard and to keep improving their lives. I like how he points out that people will need to climb gradually rather than expecting to be catapulted instantane ...more
Feb 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Incredible person...definitely in my top 5 people I'd most like to have dinner with (or more correctly, with whom I'd like to have dinner). He was living proof that a person's worth matters little where you start out in life and much more to do with how you choose to live that life.

For a man born into slavery in the South to have such a lifelong approach to equality for ALL people is amazing. Some of the bigotry and hate Booker T. Washington must have endured while growing up and getting educate
Brice Karickhoff
Aug 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
Just counted all the books centered on race relations that I’ve read since I made a goodreads like 9 months ago. The number is 20. And this is my favorite so far, w/o a doubt. 5.0/5.0

It wasn’t perfect. I feel like I should add the qualification so that nobody reads this book and thinks “oh this is everything Brice agrees with”. Definitely not the case. Nonetheless, I thought it was the top of the genre, and at this point I’d say I’ve sampled the genre pretty extensively.
Laurel Hicks
One of America's finest. ...more
Honesty: If I was not currently in rural Australia with only an e-reader and Project Gutenberg, I wouldn't have picked this up.

That said, I'm not sure why this narrative is not wildly popular with modern audiences. Maybe it just needs to be put on a new shelf, since it reads like one of the better-selling self-help titles: Self Sufficiency 101, Starting Your Dream NonProf/Business/Institute of Higher Education, The Key to Financial Success, The Social Benefits of Dental Hygiene, The Power of Opt
Crystal Starr Light
I don't know if this is a daily deal or what, but it's $1.99 on Kindle.

ALSO! AUDIBLE DAILY DEAL! $2.95 on Audible.

Bullet Review:

This book is definitely a product of its time. Booker T Washington has a really amazing story, of coming from slavery, going to school at Hampton's and then creating his own school for other blacks. That said, to modern audiences, there is a lot of "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" and "if you work hard, your hardwork will be appreciated" - stuff that goes against m
Apr 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: any person old enough to read
Recommended to Laine by: it was one that I read in high school and wanted to reaquaint my
I learned (what I had forgotten about this book) is that Booker never had trouble trusting that people would help him. He placed his trust in God and by doing so he knew that when the money was needed to build up the school at Tuskegee that it would be there. And it was and mostly from white people. it seems that they were more tolerant of the black population then that some are now. The school members worked as well as went to school and all succeeded in life. We need more of this kind of drive ...more
Kay Pelham
Jun 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wish I could give it more than 5 stars. I loved this book. From to time to time while reading I wished for Mr. Washington to be alive so I could give him a hug. What a nobly rational and thoughtful man he was.

More to come...
Oct 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
A beautiful book by a remarkable man. You should read it too....mgc
Rachael Szydlowski
The first of the nonfiction books I read was Booker T. Washington’s Up From Slavery. Before reading this text, I knew very little about the accomplishments of Booker T. Washington, only being familiar with the name–knowing he was important to African American and US history, but not why.

The short text (166 pages in total) highlights Washington’s childhood days, first as a slave and then as a struggling family in West Virginia. The book next delves into his time at Hampton Institute, where he wen
Sep 17, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is the experiences from the life of Booker T. Washington as told by himself. He began life as a slave and became a great political leader and speaker. Despite his many great speeches he considers his greatest work to be that which he accomplished in behalf of the Tuskegee school which he founded and played a vital role in throughout his life. Although I read some criticism of this man... I believe that his moral character is something to be admired and to emulate. My favorite quotes fr ...more
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Booker Taliaferro Washington was an American educator, orator, author and the dominant leader of the African-American community nationwide from the 1890s to his death. Born to slavery and freed by the Civil War in 1865, as a young man, became head of the new Tuskegee Institute, then a teachers' college for blacks. It became his base of operations. His "Atlanta Exposition" speech of 1895 appealed t ...more

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