Top positive review
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Fascinating and uplifting
on 6 April 2005
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 Tukegee.
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!