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Up from Slavery (Signet Classics) Mass Market Paperback – July 3, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-0451527547 ISBN-10: 0451527542

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Nineteenth-century African American businessman, activist, and educator Booker Taliaferro Washington's Up from Slavery is one of the greatest American autobiographies ever written. Its mantras of black economic empowerment, land ownership, and self-help inspired generations of black leaders, including Marcus Garvey, Elijah Muhammad, Malcolm X, and Louis Farrakhan. In rags-to-riches fashion, Washington recounts his ascendance from early life as a mulatto slave in Virginia to a 34-year term as president of the influential, agriculturally based Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. From that position, Washington reigned as the most important leader of his people, with slogans like "cast down your buckets," which emphasized vocational merit rather than the academic and political excellence championed by his contemporary rival W.E.B. Du Bois. Though many considered him too accommodating to segregationists, Washington, as he said in his historic "Atlanta Compromise" speech of 1895, believed that "political agitation alone would not save [the Negro]," and that "property, industry, skill, intelligence, and character" would prove necessary to black Americans' success. The potency of his philosophies are alive today in the nationalist and conservative camps that compose the complex quilt of black American society. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review


"It remains one of the most important works on such an influential African-American leader."--Professor Delia Crutchfield Cook, University of Maryland, KC


"This book is a must read."--Professor Warren C. Swindell, Indiana State University


"This book is definitely a classic and I have used every year im my African-American history course."--Professor W. Marvin Dulaney, College of Charleston


"Reading 'Up From Slavery' has provided my students with an opportunity to encounter a key figure in African American history on his own terms. It has provided them with greater insight into the mind of this man and his times."--C. Matthew Hawkins, Carlow College


"This is a very useful edition of one of the most important primary sources in African American history. Andrews sets it in context in a first-rate introduction." --Roy E. Finkenbine, Hampton University


--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Signet Classics
  • Mass Market Paperback: 228 pages
  • Publisher: Signet Classics (July 3, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451527542
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451527547
  • Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 0.7 x 6.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (186 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,034,020 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Everyone can get something from this book.
Jonathan Thomasma
Hard work and perserverance was the only way he could accomplish his goals.
Matthew
Booker T. Washington's Up From Slavery is an American classic.
The Constitutionist

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

77 of 79 people found the following review helpful By Michael P Foley on November 4, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
What is most striking about Washington's autobiographical account of his rise from slavery to revered statesman is his lack of resentment toward white culture. Rather than focus on what whites should do to uplift blacks, Washington encouraged blacks to take individual agency over their lives. He believed the best way for blacks to achieve social parity was to become indispensable members of the communities in which they lived. His absolute confidence in black resilience would probably be regarded as naive in today's political discourse. And yet the long list of his (and all black culture's) achievements during this period are unmistakable and nothing short of inspiring.
It's a shame this book is on the African American Studies shelf. The lessons from Washington's life apply to all humans, not just blacks. This book would be an excellent addition high school reading lists as a model of the values consonant with personal success.
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72 of 76 people found the following review helpful By R. K. McInish on March 22, 2000
Format: Paperback
I found this to be a most amazing work. In telling the story of going from a child of slavery to the founder and president of the Tuskegee institute, Mr. Washington illustrates for us the life-lessons which can empower any individual or race in our free society today.
Namely, look to your neighbor in love, not anger; recognize the nobility in working hard for something rather than expecting charity; be willing to give yourself to a greater cause; believe that people are capable of great things and they will live up to your expectations; recognize the importance of education, not just of the mind, but of the body and soul as well; recognize that any man who provides value to the community in which he lives will be accepted and even welcomed into that community; and above all, trust in God to care for your needs.
I highly recommend this book as a testament to the positive result of thinking from a perspective of Love and Abundance rather than Anger and Scarcity. When Mr. Washington's humility is measured against his accomplishments, he becomes in my eyes one of the greatest Americans to have lived.
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44 of 51 people found the following review helpful By M. Rasheed on April 12, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Over the years, being aware of the great rivalry between Booker T. Washington and W. E. B. Dubois I had grown used to Dubois followers saying Booker T. was an accommodationalist Uncle Tom, and other similar statements. I read Up from Slavery as a teenager, and I didn't get that impression from him at the time, so I usually dismissed people's negativity about him as misunderstanding. Having recently re-read the book, it made a far stronger impression on me as an adult and I feel compelled to give my own opinion, especially since the old "accommodationalist Uncle Tom" reviews are also on this site.

The time period after the slaves were freed was known as Reconstruction. The former slaves were both scared as to what the future held and deeply excited to experience this concept of freedom with the fire and enthusiasm of the Newly Born. For the most part they were very ignorant of their past, of how to establish themselves as a thriving community, how to interact with their white neighbors in a way beneficial to all and how to best use their money and time to grow as individuals. The whites were equally scared as to what the future held (change is often scary) but they were also excited for the former slaves and 100% wished them well. Yes, this was also the time period that formed the KKK, but evil racists were always around and thankfully, then as now, are in the minority.

As Booker T. explained, both the owner and the owned had been damaged by the chattel slavery institution. Because the lowest member of society was the slave to whom all menial labor was delegated to, both races saw work/labor as something to be avoided. The whites saw it as something that was beneath them, while the blacks felt they should rise up above it as free men.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By noscorps on December 17, 2012
Format: Paperback
i wanted to read a book written by someone who lived as an american "slave" as well as thru the period of "reconstruction" that WAS america in the late 19th century; i hoped to hear a first hand account of slavery from a person who survived it. i wanted to understand the struggles and joys of a person who lived as a newly emancipated citizen. booker t washington is one such person who was freed from bondage.

what i loved about this book:

*first hand account of the affects of slavery such as: naming himself, not knowing his own birthday and age, no ties to family, no knowledge of lineage of either of his parents, etc.
*THE TRUTH about why he is lauded as one of america's greatest "african americans"
*the early struggles of tuskegee as a university

what i loved less about this book:

* references to ppl, places, organizations, etc. lost to history. google helped, but dang :(
* incessant listing of accomplishments - including how well received booker was by white media and white america - rather than discussion of his relationships with his 3 wives and 3 children

altho this book was written by booker t washington about his own life, i didnt feel as if his autobiography allowed me to learn much about him as a man... as a person.

i am glad it was written as it gives context for an era and a person i can never know about, but this book is more about the chronography of booker t washington's accomplishments rather than who this man was and how he lived.

that being said, i still think every american should read this book!
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