Heroes come in two types. There's the amazing and spontaneous one time action hero; The man or woman who suddenly risks all to save the life of a stranger is highly regarded by the rest of us because we all know the difficulty of being so unselfish. Then there's the hero who quietly and faithfully plods away through his or her entire lifetime at a series of obscure tasks. Ultimately a great benefit to humanity emerges from the office or the laboratory or the basement, and a national hero comes to light.
Booker T. Washington was born in Virginia in 1856 to an African slave woman and a local white man. He was unofficially adopted by another slave when he married Booker's mother. After the Civil War, Booker and his brothers had to work in the salt mines, but Booker worked early in the morning and into the evening; an arrangement he pleaded with his stepfather to make so that he could attend school. Not realizing he already had a last name (Taliaferro), he blurted out the most famous name he knew when asked for his full name: “Washington!”, and so became Booker T. Washington.
Later, Washington worked his way into Hampton college, literally. After being tested by cleaning a room, he was admitted as a student and given work as a janitor. The education at Hampton was thorough, but emphasized manual training. Booker learned to be a bricklayer among other things and graduated in 1876. After teaching for two years, and going to Wayland Seminary in DC, he became convinced that he could most help his race by seeing that the more practical manual skills were learned. He became a teacher at Hampton and successfully implemented an experimental program with 100 Native American students.
The citizens in Tuskegee Alabama set aside $2000 per year for a black college. Washington was recruited to build the school from the ground up (starting with the making of a kiln to make bricks to buld the buildings), including the further raising of money and recruiting staff and students. His Tuskegee Institute quickly transformed the lives and fortunes of hundreds of young blacks. Washington taught better farming methods to his students, and sent them out to spread understanding of new equipment and methods to area farmers. Furthermore, he taught the value of capitalistic enterprise, establishing the National Negro Business League in 1900. George Washington Carver worked at the Tuskegee for 47years.
Politically, Booker T. lobbied blacks to focus on developing their own money-making skills so they could provide well for themselves and their families. "The opportunity to earn a dollar in a factory just now is worth infinitely more than the opportunity to spend a dollar in an opera-house," he said. Other black leaders of the day were agitating for equal treatment of the races through protest strategies, while Washington urged patience. His position pleased most whites, and Washington was given immense power over some of the major institutions effecting the lives of African Americans through the last decade of the 1800s. At the same time he was quelling some of the unrest, he was also secretly subsidizing and encouraging legal efforts to overcome segregation in the south.
What QUALITIES OF GOD are evident in Booker T.Washington?
Booker's earliest memory was of YEARNING to read and write. He followed through on his desire by SACRIFICING any free time he might otherwise have had, to be in school (Like a Mom or Dad staying up all night when their prodigal is still out, what does God sacrifice in waiting for us to repent?). Going to school was one thing, but Booker's real achievement was in THINKING about how best he could MEET THE REAL NEEDS of his people, and then in TAKING ACTION. In various ways and according to his own CONVICTIONS, Washington was ALWAYS WORKING to benefit others