Up from Slavery: the Struggles and Triomphs of Booker T. Washington in a Divided America

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UP FROM SLAVERY:
THE STRUGGLES AND TRIOMPHS OF BOOKER T. WASHINGTON IN A DIVIDED AMERICA

Even though slavery has been abolished in the United States for decades now, the stories from the people who lived in the period when slavery was still practiced and experienced the period after the abolishment, are still alive today. The experiences Booker T. Washington tells about in Up From Slavery range from haunting to inspirational, and give a clear view on the South of the US post-Civil War from the eyes of a black man. Even though Booker T. Washington endured horrible circumstances during slavery, Washington sets an example for black people of the perseverance to succeed in the US and to overcome all obstacles.

The autobiographical story in Up From Slavery starts with introducing Washington’s life on the plantation where he worked. As he phrases it himself: “[his] life had its beginnings in the midst of the most miserable, desolate, and discouraging surroundings” (Washington 870). These surroundings, combined with devastatingly hard labor, created an environment with no apparent end in sight, and no hope of changing the situation. This helplessness is expressed by Washington, as he sees other boys and girls his age going to school. Due to the situation in the US at the time, there were no chances at all of Washington getting into school, or as he calls it: “paradise” (Washington 872). When this no-escape-possible situation ends –when slavery is abolished– and Washington hears about a school for black people, he immediately is determined to go to the school. His persistence is recognized by the school board and he gets accepted in the school, which leads to Washington excelling in school.

When he began delivering his first speeches years later, he developed himself as a leading figure, who was fighting to help black people and other minorities to grow out of the place they have been kept in for years, and advance themselves. For black people, often in...
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