Booker Taliaferro Washington (1856 - 1915) MP

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Birthplace: Burroughs Plantation, Hale's Ford, Franklin County, Virginia, United States
Death: Died in Tuskegee, Macon County, Alabama, United States
Cause of death: Congestive heart failure
Managed by: Donna Wetherington
Last Updated:

About Booker Taliaferro Washington

Booker Taliaferro Washington (5 April 1858 – 14 November 1915) was an African-American educator, author, orator, advisor to Republican presidents, and black political leader. He was the dominant figure in the African-American community in the United States from 1890 to 1915.

Marriages and Children

  1. Fanny Norton Washington (____ - 1884), married 1882
    1. Portia M. Washington (born 1883)
  2. Olivia Davidson Washington (1854 - 1889), married 1885
    1. Booker T. Washington Jr.
    2. Ernest Davidson Washington
  3. Margaret Murray Washington (1865 - 1925)

A Powerful Voice for Equality

A representative of the last generation of black American leaders born in slavery, he spoke on behalf of the large majority of blacks who lived in the South but had lost their ability to vote through disfranchisement by southern legislatures.

"Freedom cannot be given; it must be purchased."

While his opponents called his powerful network of supporters the "Tuskegee Machine," Washington maintained power because of his ability to gain support of numerous groups: influential whites; the black business, educational and religious communities nationwide; financial donations from philanthropists, and his accommodation to the political realities of the age of Jim Crow segregation.

Honors and Legacy

  • Granted an honorary master's degree from Harvard University in 1896 and an honorary doctorate from Dartmouth College in 1901.
  • As the guest of President Theodore Roosevelt in 1901, Booker T. Washington was the first African American to be invited to the White House.
  • The White House visit was the subject of an opera, A Guest of Honor, by Scott Joplin, noted African-American composer.
  • The White House visit was also mentioned in the 1927 song by Banjo Blues Musician Gus Cannon, titled "Can You Blame The Colored Man".
  • In 1940 Booker T. Washington became the first African American to be portrayed on a stamp, as part of the 'Famous Americans Series'; another stamp was issued in his honor in 1956
  • In 1942, the Liberty Ship Booker T. Washington was named in his honor, the first major oceangoing vessel to be named after an African American. The ship was christened by Marian Anderson.
  • Honored on the first coin to feature an African American, the Booker T. Washington Memorial Half Dollar, which was minted by the United States from 1946 to 1951. He was also depicted on a U.S. Half Dollar from 1951–1954.
  • On 5 April 1956, the hundredth anniversary of Washington's birth, the house where he was born in Franklin County, Virginia, was designated as the Booker T. Washington National Monument. A state park in Chattanooga, Tennessee was named in his honor, as was a bridge spanning the Hampton River adjacent to his alma mater, Hampton University.
  • In 1984 Hampton University dedicated a Booker T. Washington Memorial on campus near the historic Emancipation Oak, establishing, in the words of the University, "a relationship between one of America's great educators and social activists, and the symbol of Black achievement in education."

Notes

  • Alternate date of birth: 5 April 1859
  • His mother gave him the name 'Taliaferro' as his surname; he used it as a middle name and gave himself the surname 'Washington'

Sources

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Booker T. Washington's Timeline

1856
April 5, 1856
Hale's Ford, Franklin County, Virginia, United States
1882
1882
Age 25
1883
1883
Age 26
1885
1885
Age 28
1915
November 14, 1915
Age 59
Tuskegee, Macon County, Alabama, United States
November 18, 1915
Age 59
Tuskegee, Macon County, Alabama, United States
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