The Wizard of Tuskegee

I know of no white man who could do better." General Samuel Armstrong

Booker T. Washington worked at Hampton Institute as house father for American Indian students until May 1881. Meanwhile, commissioners in Tuskegee, Alabama asked General Armstrong to recommend a white principal for a new Negro school. They accepted Washington on Armstrong's recommendation.

"Booker T. Washington will suit us. Send him at once." Lewis Adams

When Washington arrived at Tuskegee in 1881, he visited area schools. He found that they were doing little to educate African American children. He also found that black teachers were often unprepared and lacked basic instructional materials. These observations no doubt reinforced his sense of mission and his commitment to African American education.

Students cleared the land and constructed the original buildings of Tuskegee, winning the respect of local residents. By the early twentieth century, Booker T. Washington had built a solid financial foundation for Tuskegee Institute. It was based on the generous contributions of northern industrialists such as Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller.

 

Last updated: February 26, 2015

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