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Up from Slavery (1901)

por Booker T. Washington

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3,405333,054 (3.9)66
Upon its publication in 1901, Up From Slavery became the most influential book written by an African American.
  1. 10
    The Souls of Black Folk por W. E. B. Du Bois (Usuario anónimo)
    Usuario anónimo: Black history, American History, Black political thought.
  2. 10
    Autobiography of Josiah Henson: An Inspiration for Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom por Josiah Henson (HistReader)
    HistReader: Both former slaves erect establishments which advance their race: Henson, a city with industry and schools; and Washington, a learning institution which was well respected. As well, both men went on to attend, as esteemed guests, events which had not been graced with the representation of non-Whites. Henson, the World's Fair in London; Washington, the Atlanta Exposition.… (más)
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Mostrando 1-5 de 33 (siguiente | mostrar todos)
Up From Slavery, Booker T. Washington, author; Jonathan Reese, narrator
I have read a mix of fiction and non-fiction offerings from Ibram Kendi, James Baldwin, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Angie Thomas, W.E.B. Du Bois, Jacqueline Woodson, Walter Mosley, Colson Whitehead, Isabel Wilkerson, and more; add Robin DiAngelo to the mix as well, though she is an outlier and a white author, and I have been presented with the opinions and philosophies of what I hope is a broad and more diverse group of ideas that will help me to better understand the situation in society today which has often grown violent with controversial demands that sometimes seem beyond reason. Racial conflist is growing rather than declining as it had been. The way in which ideas have been recently interpreted and events conducted, by a diverse group of people, seemingly seeking what they believe is justice, has been very controversial and unsettling forthe rest of society. If thery do not get what they demand, they view the decisions as unjust and often follow up the refusal with violent demonstrations that are destructive and unacceptable by most of society's standards. This is divisive and does not inspire unity, but rather separate "safe spaces".
Although the book is sometimes repetitive, the absolute brilliance of this man, from a background of slavery, shines through. He was invited to visit with Queen Victoria. He was able to rub elbows with the rich and famous, even Presidents Cleveland and McKinley, as well as Senators, and other dignitaries, and to travel the world and gain acceptance, and also the respect from others, that most of us would never dream of experiencing. He was a gentleman, but he often believed he had to know his place in society, and so did others of his race, in order to compete. This was to grow into a controversial theme, later in his life, as those that became educated had different approaches to the advancement of "colored" people, as they are called in the book. Yet he was the father of a monumental program to educate the members of his race, just so they could advance in society, after finally being freed from the yolk of slavery. However, today, the idea that others are now promoting so vehemently, is perhaps not stressing education and indusriousness enough, as part of the equation. Knowing one's place is a faulty theory that was alive and well in the south not too many decades ago. I once remarked about how well everyone seemed to get along in a place of such disharmony during the Civil War, and I was told that "they know their place! This horrified me, as a naive Northerner, and led me to understand that the South had not truly come very far, regardless of outside appearnances.
However, getting back to Washington, he had the respect of both the black and white community, but, he also created great controversy. While he believed in peacefully working to advance his race from the bottom up, W. E. B. Du Bois had another opinion. He believed the advancement would take place from the top down. Both men had the ideal of improving the lot of their race; both men had noble intentions. Bottom up or top down, moving forward should be the ultimate goal, rather than promoting hostility by fostering their opposing views, instead of combining them. Currently, we seem to be promoting dissent rather than compromise, separation rather than unification, violence rather than peace, and we are not encouraging education nor are we integrating all people into our society, but are redividing ourselves into competing groups of protesters.
What I admired most about Washington’s philosophy was his desire to earn the right to succeed through hard work, a goal that was once the desire of all benighted people. The type of work is what is in question when it comes to the philosophies of many who wish to rise up. Washington believed in trades as the bedrock of improvement, the cornerstone of advancement. I believe his ideas would have benefited if they were combined with the ideas of Du Bois, for once educated, one should then be encouraged to move on into far higher ambitious professions. To remain in the trades would keep them in the bottom of society, to use the trades, as most groups do, as a stepping stone, would be far more advantageous. His ideas seemed to be more of a foundation and the ideas of Du Bois was the firm foundation on which to build. In addition to Washington’s beliefs about industry, he also included faith-based ideas, ethics, cleanliness, and truly hard work leaving no time for chicanery or failure. He seemed to believe in self-worth, responsibility, honesty and gratitude as important parts of life. He believed that in earning one’s place in society, one attained success.
It is largely a universal belief of many groups of people that as the underdog, they had to be better than others, had to work harder, needed to do something that no one else could best, in order to shine and gain recognition. Being outstanding was believed to be the key to improvement of one’s lot in life. This seemed to be Washington’s basic belief, and he never gave up on it. He never seemed resentful or angry, and was always measured in his behavior and his requests for help. He tempered his requests with his idea that his students must be industrious and must help themselves. In many ways it does sound like the voice of reason. Perhap,though, he was too harsh, at times, but his was a fledgling idea, one that needed to develop, one that was an inspiration to others, and its initial design was perhaps necessary at that time. Demands that were less stringent might not have succeeded as well as his did. His "child", Tuskegee Institute, continued to grow and influence black society for decades.
However, I disagree with his belief that his race should be thankful to slavery for giving them the opportunity to learn how to subsist, to make their way in the world, even sending some people back to Africa to enlighten them so they too, might improve their lot in life. I believe that there is simply no place for slavery in the world, and therefore, the gains made for the black race in terms of survival skills are overshadowed by the abuse they were forced to suffer to learn them. As a person of Jewish descent, a people subjected to abuse for thousands of years, I cannot abide by the notion that any abusive behavior is worthwhile regardless of the interpretation of the ultimate results. Should Jews be grateful that they learned how to defend themselves out of necessity? Washington's peaceful method of solving the race problem is far more acceptable to me, however, than the approach that has grown up today, of rioting and looting, sometimes with violent protest marches. Society has made great strides, and although there is more improvement necessary, the way forward would be better served by the attitude of a measured man who allows conversation and discussion, absent the hostility surrounding all racial issues today. This dysfunction in society is being promoted by the media and some outspoken groups motivated by revenge and recompense. Instead of uniting as Washington had hoped, we are dividing and separating like the yolks from the albumin in eggs. It would be far better to combine the ingredients well.
Booker T. Washington never gave up. He always believed in his own self-worth and wished to advance through his own hard work. He wanted to be a credit to himself, his family and his community, including the wider world around him. He had that same goal for others. He understood that it wasn’t the name he had been given that made him a man, but his character and behavior that did that. He knew that education was the key to advancement. Believing in the best in people often brought out the best in people. He demanded excellence, made no excuses for less than that, and so he achieved excellence from his students. The Tuskegee Institute paved the way for black people, or “colored” people as he refers to them, to rise up from slavery to become important contributors to any country in which they lived. How people behave is a choice and Washington demanded that they chose wisely to improve themselves in all ways. To me his approach is best described in the reference he makes to the statement, “Cast down your bucket where you are”. ( )
  thewanderingjew | May 1, 2022 |
I first came across Washington when I was in grade school and I read a picture book biography about him. He has a lot to say that is worthwhile. He's an optimist, is full of good advice and sound business experience. I loved a lot of this book.

It is very much a product of his time. If you can separate the two, you might enjoy it. If you can't, you won't. There are things that preclude it from being timeless, unlike Frederick Douglass' narrative. And his goal for change isn't a popular one for today. Judge for yourself.

Personally, though, I found it interesting that behind all the stuff he purposefully did to enhance education, there was a lot of good side effects going on that he maybe wasn't aware of(eg the advantage of feeling like you belong to a group, etc.) or instigating on purpose. ( )
  OutOfTheBestBooks | Sep 24, 2021 |
The first half of this book gripped me and had the feel of a classic. The author’s account of his birth, manumission, and youth are a valuable record of the last years of slavery and the first years of reconstruction. His struggles to find work and the obstacles he overcame to gain an education are inspiring. The second half of the book, in contrast, let me down. I don’t begrudge the author his victory lap, recounting how the hard work and sacrifice paid off in the success of the Tuskegee Institute or the encomia he received from Harvard, the White House, and other centers of learning and power. But along with this, he dispenses advice reminiscent of the self-satisfied tone of businessmen and political leaders of his day on how to succeed. More disquieting is his persistent optimism. While acknowledging in passing the problems of lynching, vote suppression, as well as the day-to-day disabilities brought on by segregation, his tone is consistently one of optimism, that racial prejudice is passing, and that if his fellow blacks would simply bathe daily and work hard, then the last barriers to full citizenship would fall away. What this Panglossian attitude may have cost him personally is suggested by the fact of his death before turning sixty. An autopsy showed that he suffered from chronic hypertension. All in all, this book is a poignant record of the life of one of the greatest Americans. ( )
  HenrySt123 | Jul 19, 2021 |
I think he died in the Sunken Place.
I enjoyed the history and his story. At the same time this reads like a plea to Jim Crow. ( )
  LoisSusan | Dec 10, 2020 |
I registered this book at BookCrossing.com!
http://www.BookCrossing.com/journal/14417483

A good memoir for filling in some blanks. I had heard of Booker T. Washington but did not even recall for what. Now I know both what Washington wanted us to know and what he did not.

Washington was born about seven years (based on current information about his birth) before Lincoln freed the slaves. He was born into slavery and of course knew nothing else until his family was freed. Freedom was not an easy road, and he soon learned that making himself useful would take him places.

He was obsessed with learning to read and so he accomplished it, sometimes through a kind of subterfuge to avoid his father's rules. Stepfather, actually, as his biological father is unknown. He worked hard to get into Hampton, a school that promised him a way out of poverty and into a more fulfilling life. Eventually he was asked to start another school in Tuskegee, Alabama, and it was here that he found his life's work. Through building the school and speaking about it and about "the race problem", he became a well-known orator.

While others demanded real equality, Washington was more cautious. He valued his connections with whites, and they responded. Through his efforts he built a formidable school on a large piece of land and provided an education to thousands of African-Americans. This private school still exists and is thriving.

Washington's position was that the newly-freed slave did not know how to live in a free world. He needed to learn basic skills, like teeth brushing, and he needed to learn how to behave. He should never set himself up as better than others of any color. He needed, above all, to learn manual skills: farming, ranching, building, welding. By these means he could set himself up, be accepted and valued, and raise future generations of educated yet humble people.

Washington also did not concern himself with segregation. He was delighted when the color bars were broken for him, as when he was invited to events normally only open to whites. According to his memoir, skin color would become a non-issue over time, when whites just naturally accepted the grateful, hard-working blacks into their world.

I have three different editions of this book. One, a kindle version, features a foreward by a white contemporary of Washington, W.H. Page, praising the work and emphasizing the impact of Washington's teacher at Hampton, Samuel Armstrong. The Dover Thrift Edition (this book) includes just a short "note", unsigned, saying it was "carefully constructed to present a favorable view of its subject". That comment made me curious but when I looked online I mostly saw the accusations of "Uncle Tom", which I had expected. More enlightening is the third edition, an elderly Dell paperback, which includes a lengthier introduction by Louis Lomax. Lomax was an African-American writer who was active in civil rights organizations. His introduction fills in the gap for me: he points out that if Washington had actually lived and taught the way he presents himself in the autobiography, Lomax would have no quarrel with him. However, in practice he apparently favored manual labor so much over book learning that he discouraged students from carrying books around on campus. He further accepted segregation, assuming that blacks would have to earn their way to parity with whites.

The writing is not spectacular. It skips past significant personal events, like Washington's marriages and the deaths of his wives with barely a mention. It needs better editing. But it tells in detail what it was like to live in that period right after the civil war, when former slaves were finding their way with the few skills they had been allowed to master. And, although one can argue with Washington's contention (echoed by Walter H. Page) that book learning was worse than nothing in this transitional period, there is no doubt that Washington was wildly successful in his quest to create a school that would take others "up from slavery" to a better life. Perhaps he was the right person at the right time, to be followed by more literate, more demanding, more challenging African-Americans. ( )
1 vota slojudy | Sep 8, 2020 |
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Nombre del autorRolTipo de autor¿Trabajo?Estado
Booker T. Washingtonautor principaltodas las edicionescalculado
Forbes, BartIlustradorautor secundarioalgunas edicionesconfirmado
Gillen, DenverIlustradorautor secundarioalgunas edicionesconfirmado
Harlan, Louis R.Introducciónautor secundarioalgunas edicionesconfirmado
Reed, IshmaelIntroducciónautor secundarioalgunas edicionesconfirmado
Thrasher, Max Bennettautor secundarioalgunas edicionesconfirmado
Washington, Booker T., IIIIntroducciónautor secundarioalgunas edicionesconfirmado
Waterman, NoahNarradorautor secundarioalgunas edicionesconfirmado
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This volume is dedicated to my Wife, Mrs. Margaret James Washington And to my Brother, Mr. John H. Washington.
Whose patience, fidelity and hard work have gone far to make the work at Tuskegee successful.
Washington, Margaret James
Washington, John H.
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I was born a slave on a plantation in Franklin County, Virginia.
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Upon its publication in 1901, Up From Slavery became the most influential book written by an African American.

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Ediciones: 1400102677, 140011134X

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