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Up From Slavery

Up From Slavery (Paperback) by Booker T. Washington (Author), Ishmael Reed (Introduction), Robert J. Norrell (Afterword)

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Summary

Amazon.com Review

Nineteenth-century African American businessman, activist, and educator Booker Taliaferro Washington's Up from Slavery is one of the greatest American autobiographies ever written. Its mantras of black economic empowerment, land ownership, and self-help inspired generations of black leaders, including Marcus Garvey, Elijah Muhammad, Malcolm X, and Louis Farrakhan. In rags-to-riches fashion, Washington recounts his ascendance from early life as a mulatto slave in Virginia to a 34-year term as president of the influential, agriculturally based Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. From that position, Washington reigned as the most important leader of his people, with slogans like "cast down your buckets," which emphasized vocational merit rather than the academic and political excellence championed by his contemporary rival W.E.B. Du Bois. Though many considered him too accommodating to segregationists, Washington, as he said in his historic "Atlanta Compromise" speech of 1895, believed that "political agitation alone would not save [the Negro]," and that "property, industry, skill, intelligence, and character" would prove necessary to black Americans' success. The potency of his philosophies are alive today in the nationalist and conservative camps that compose the complex quilt of black American society. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Reviews

5 out of 5 stars Fascinating and uplifting, July 11, 2003

By Kurt A. Johnson (North-Central Illinois, USA) (TOP 50 REVIEWER) (REAL NAME)       

This review is from: Up from Slavery (Hardcover)

In 1901, Booker T. Washington (1856-1915) published this autobiography. Born into slavery, after emancipation, Mr. Washington developed a philosophy that African-Americans needed to sweep away the ignorance that their subservient position had left them with, and earn the respect of the whites through hard work and excellence. In 1881 he founded the Tuskegee Institute to teach African-Americans how to study, how to work hard and intelligently (producing better results than the white businesses of the day), and how to have respect for themselves and others. This is Mr. Washington's story of his youth and his success at Tuskegee.

This is a fascinating and uplifting book. Though cognizant of the racism that often surrounded him, Mr. Washington never lost his faith in the basic goodness of the people of all colors that he met. The only problem I had with this excellent book was the knowledge I could not shake, that Mr. Washington's faith was not rewarded, and the white community of the day would not give the African-American community respect and fair treatment.

That said, though, this is a great and wonderful book, which should rightly be considered an American classic. If you want to read a book that is a window on the America of the late nineteenth century, or if you want an uplifting book about a man of faith and love, then I highly recommend that you get this book!

5 out of 5 stars A classic with relevant lessons for today, March 22, 2000

By R. K. McInish "kmcinish" (United States)

This review is from: Up From Slavery (Paperback)

I found this to be a most amazing work. In telling the story of going from a child of slavery to the founder and president of the Tuskegee institute, Mr. Washington illustrates for us the life-lessons which can empower any individual or race in our free society today.

Namely, look to your neighbor in love, not anger; recognize the nobility in working hard for something rather than expecting charity; be willing to give yourself to a greater cause; believe that people are capable of great things and they will live up to your expectations; recognize the importance of education, not just of the mind, but of the body and soul as well; recognize that any man who provides value to the community in which he lives will be accepted and even welcomed into that community; and above all, trust in God to care for your needs.

I highly recommend this book as a testament to the positive result of thinking from a perspective of Love and Abundance rather than Anger and Scarcity. When Mr. Washington's humility is measured against his accomplishments, he becomes in my eyes one of the greatest Americans to have lived.

5 out of 5 stars Not Just for African Americans, November 4, 2001

By Michael P Foley (Pleasant Hill, CA USA)

This review is from: Up from Slavery (Signet Classics) (Mass Market Paperback)

What is most striking about Washington's autobiographical account of his rise from slavery to revered statesman is his lack of resentment toward white culture. Rather than focus on what whites should do to uplift blacks, Washington encouraged blacks to take individual agency over their lives. He believed the best way for blacks to achieve social parity was to become indispensable members of the communities in which they lived. His absolute confidence in black resilience would probably be regarded as naive in today's political discourse. And yet the long list of his (and all black culture's) achievements during this period are unmistakable and nothing short of inspiring.

It's a shame this book is on the African American Studies shelf. The lessons from Washington's life apply to all humans, not just blacks. This book would be an excellent addition high school reading lists as a model of the values consonant with personal success.


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