"Amid Christian influences I was surrounded by an atmosphere of business, and a spirit of self-help that seemed to awaken every faculty in me and cause me for the first time to realize what it means to be a man instead of a piece of property."
Booker T. Washington
After passing an entrance exam that consisted of successfully sweeping the floor, Booker was accepted into Hampton Institute. He became a model student and worked as a janitor to pay his expenses.
General Samuel Armstrong had founded Hampton Institute in 1868. He believed that training in agriculture and industry would give ex-slaves the skills needed for the economic advancement of the South. Armstrong also argued that freedmen did not have the cultural and moral qualities necessary to take part in politics and that they should not vote. This philosophy made Armstrong's educational program acceptable to whites in the South.
Booker T. Washington understood Armstrong's educational philosophy and recognized its practical advantages in a society racked by racial violence and terrorism.