Booker T. Washington was born to a slave woman in 1856. His father was white, but Booker never learned who the man was. From a young age, Booker knew he wanted to go to school. He got his wish when the slaves were freed after the Civil War. When he was 16, he walked hundreds of miles to attend Hampton Institute. At Hampton he studied hard. He also learned the value of hard work.In 1881 he became principal of the Tuskegee Institute. He built the school from the ground up. He devoted the rest of his life to Tuskegee and to black education. He believed learning a trade was the most important type of education. With a useful trade, a black person could more easily fit into white society. Not everyone agreed with him. But no one could ever doubt his dedication to working for the best possible life for his fellow black Americans.
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