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Up from Slavery: an autobiography

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  22,453 ratings  ·  1,192 reviews
This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers. You may find it for free on the web. Purchase of the Kindle edition includes wireless delivery.
Kindle Edition, 133 pages
Published May 12th 2012 (first published 1900)
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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…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)
Cinder I will say he is not being too idealistic and is very realistic in the area of concurrent black economics. His stance on education is not about…moreI will say he is not being too idealistic and is very realistic in the area of concurrent black economics. His stance on education is not about foregoing it. It is equal to stating that training to become an auto mechanic is better than majoring in English for someone in the lower class. Careers opportunities in the liberal arts in general, even now but more so then, are filled mostly by upper class people with contacts. He did not want blacks, especially children of former slaves, to waste time in these studies. Du Bois and Washington had things right and wrong in their respective beliefs. Du Bois was more idealistic to me. I actually think the issue is that Washington was not idealistic enough to recognize the need to be forceful. (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
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
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 ...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 ...more
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
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-
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.
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 ...more
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
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
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
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.
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 ...more
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.
Great Book Study
I so do honor and respect this man. America needs more leaders like Booker T. Washington.

My review: Up From Slavery

Laurel Hicks
One of America's finest.
Jan 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016, non-fic, own, history
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
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
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 of
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
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
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...
Articulate, and an incredible story.

Washington tells of how he worked to become the principal of the Tuskegee Institute for African American people. By sheer force of will and determination, this man managed (not without help) to erect a school especially for black people, in the South, in the late 1800's and early 1900's.

I love how Washington writes, he's so melodic. I can sense his relief, his sadness, his gratefulness. I loved hearing about him as a teacher because I'm trained as an
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
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
Zoe's Human
Without a doubt Booker T. Washington was an impressive man. He was hardworking and brilliant, both traits he used in the pursuit of creating a better world. He had an appreciation of the values of practicality, physical labor, self-care, and diplomacy. He had a passion for education, and he, a former slave, founded Tuskegee University.

However, he also placed the burden of fixing post-Civil War race relations squarely at the feet of black America. He repeatedly admonished former slaves that all
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
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 ...more
Jul 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a 5 star book because I love and appreciate the heart and mind of this gentleman. Booker T. Washington was light years ahead of his peers, only I'm not sure he knew it. He saw a much kinder and civilized world than history tells us he lived in. He saw the good. He showed compassion and understanding for those who may not have offered it back. He was driven, not for personal gain but for a whole race of people. He saw the value of hard work and industry and wanted "his people" to not feel ...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 ...more
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