English Lesson 60 Essay

What are some memorable events from Booker T Washington’s narrative?I would say that one of the most memorable parts of Booker Washington’s “Up From Slavery” was his dedication to education. First of all, his determination to get to his classes while working is inspiring. Second, he had to walk many, many miles to get to Hampton Institute. He did his classes faithfully, working at the Institute to pay for them. He even started his own school, and worked hard doing so. The reason that this has made an impression on me is that nowadays, we tend to take education for granted. In contrast, this man essentially dedicated his whole life to educating people.
Another memorable item from this book is also related to education: Washington’s great preference for practical education as opposed to more abstract and scholarly learning. This is very understandable, especially back when this was written. Ex-slaves who didn’t want to do hard labor anymore would try to learn things like Greek and Latin in hopes of becoming a teacher and thus being free of manual labor. This caused Washington to lose some respect for learning these subjects.
Something else that interests me is the importance he puts on cleanliness (which IS next to godliness, you know). For instance, he was taught rather early on how to clean a room very thoroughly. This skill had played the deciding factor in getting him into Hampton. He also believed that bathing was a sign of the civilized, and taught his students to do so regularly. He even wrote “I sometimes feel that almost the most valuable lesson I got at the Hampton Institute was in the use and value of the bath.” He praised the bath for not only keeping us clean, but also inspiring self-respect and virtue.
The most central part of his life mission was to give blacks equal rights and end nationwide racism. He took a more calm approach to it than many others did, however. Instead of instigating riots or advocating any use of violence, he much preferred education and peaceful methods of gaining respect (and rights). This is powerful to me, because we tend to hear much more about the violent solutions than the peaceful ones.
Another thing that stands out for me is his lack of hatred towards whites. Despite having been a slave and still fighting the ill effects of racism, he was not bitter towards the individuals. For example, he and most of the other slaves respected their masters (as long as they weren’t cruel), and in many cases they were like family. Now this didn’t keep most of the slaves from using their freedom to the fullest when they got it, but hearing this still surprised me nonetheless.
So all in all, the most important features of Booker Washington were his grit and determination. He was the kind of man to do whatever it took to accomplish his goals in life. This, combined with the fact that his goals were noble (to provide education and equal rights to blacks), made him an extremely influential individual.

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