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I Booker Taliaferro Washington was born into slavery on a small farm in the back country of Virginia I like many other Americans of a darker skin were considered to be a piece of property of the whites who owned plantations in the south After the emancipation act was passed and I was declared a free black man my mother brother John and I traveled many hundred miles from the plantation in Franklin County Virginia to Malden in West Virginia there we were joined with my step-father who worked in the salt furnaces and coal-mines There while attending the Kanawha Valley school I took the name Washington Once while working in a coal mine I overheard some exciting and exhilarating news I overheard two men talk of a school for the colored where poor but worthy students could work for their bed and board while learning a trade This lead me to have a great ambition that one day I would attend Hampton After I was educated at the secondary school I had dreamed of going to Hampton Institute I taught at an upgraded school and there I was able to experiment some with the studies of law and ministry But it was a teaching position I had at Hampton that helped me assure my future career In the year 1881 I founded the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute in the Black Belt of Alabama I persuaded southern white employees and governors that the Institute offered an education that would keep blacks on the farm and in the trades But to blacks education was the means of escape from the web of sharecropping and debt and the conquest of attainable goals of self-employment landownership and small business I gave many speeches and wrote many books in the years I ran the Tuskegee Institute In 1892 Tuskegee held its
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