History & Culture
"I was born a slave on a plantation in Franklin County, Virginia. I am not quite sure of the exact place or exact date of my birth, but at any rate I suspect I must have been born somewhere and at some time."
Booker T. Washington NM commemorates the birthplace of America's most prominent African American educator and orator of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The property evokes an 1850s middle class tobacco farm, representative of Booker T. Washington's enslaved childhood at the Burroughs farm. He was born in 1856 to the Burroughses' cook, Jane and lived on the farm throughout the Civil War. Compared to their Franklin County neighbors, the Burroughses were an upper middle class family evidenced by their combined slave and land holdings. They produced tobacco as a cash crop and grew other subsistence crops like flax, potatoes, and grains for family sustenance. Washington lived in the farm's one-room kitchen cabin with his mother and two half siblings. As a small child he brought water to the men in the fields, carried the books of the Burroughses' daughters books to school, and transported grain to the local mill. more . . .
Did You Know?
The "T" in Booker T. Washington's name stands for Taliaferro. Booker found out later in life his mother had given him this as a last name but he did not describe why. He made it his middle name.