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Booker T. Washington (1856-1915) was born a slave on a Virginia farm. Later freed, he headed and developed the Tuskegee Institute and became a leader in education. Widely considered a spokesman for his people, he emphasized social concern in three books as well as his autobiography. Ishmael Reed is one of America's most renowned African-American writers. He is the author of plays, poetry and novels, including Japanese by Spring. He lives in Oakland, California.
Washington's memoir begins with his life as a slave on a plantation in western Virginia. Once he's freed, he looks for ways to gain knowledge, while also working in a coal mine and eventually as a house boy for a noted member of the white community. Later, he attends Hampton Institute where for the first time he is exposed to higher education and begins to develop his philosophy. The author then goes to Tuskegee Institute where he is first a teacher and later its president. Up from Slavery includes much of Washington's thinking on economic empowerment and the importance of education. Also included here is an 1895 speech he made at the International Exposition in Atlanta that turned him into a national figure and a role model. Washington's words continue to inspire many but also ruffle the feathers of those who follow the work of scholar W.E.B. Du Bois, who had a different view regarding the role of African Americans in society. Andrew L. Barnes offers a fine reading of this important work. For all libraries.-Danna Bell-Russel, Library of Congress Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.