Up from Slavery: An Autobiography

Up from Slavery chronicles the life and times of Booker T. Washington. In this captivating autobiography, Washington recounts his personal voyage from the shackles of slavery to the pinnacle of prominence. The Tuskegee Institute, later to become today's Tuskegee University, plays a large role in the book, so much so that the latter half of Up from Slavery is as much about Tuskegee as it is about Washington. When criticized for limiting the educational horizons of blacks by emphasizing agricultural and vocational subjects at his school, Washington declares that these are the true bases of black economic development. Although condemned by many contemporary black intellectuals as an accommodationist, if not apologist, for the racism of early twentieth-century America, Washington largely redeems himself. In the autobiography he enunciates his pride in being black and makes clear that the forces that shaped his life came not from his unknown white father, but from his humble black mother. Up from Slavery is the story of one man's rise to the leadership of his people in the face of a hostile larger society. Along the way he experiences many disappointments and setbacks, but always perseveres.