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Up from Slavery: An Autobiography (Modern Library 100 Best Nonfiction Books) [Kindle Edition]

Booker T. Washington
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (300 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Selected by the Modern Library as one of the 100 best nonfiction books of all time

The Black educator documents his struggle for freedom and self-respect and his fight to establish industrial training programs.


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.

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



Product Details

  • File Size: 354 KB
  • Print Length: 133 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1846375819
  • Publisher: Modern Library (June 11, 1999)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000FC1KTS
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,179,866 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
(300)
4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
79 of 81 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not Just for African Americans 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
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic with relevant lessons for today 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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50 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the beautiful Booker Taliaferro Washington February 4, 2004
By illyz
Format:Paperback
Let me start off by saying I'm a 16 year old female...
Upon looking through the history section of the store I discovered "Up From Slavery", the autobiography of Booker T. Washington. I could easily recall reading about him in US history. Interested, I decided to buy it.. Well I ended up staying up all night reading this book.
Washington entails his life story of endeavers and prosperity gained. He describes of how he raised himself up from slavery through sacrifices and struggles. With the self-reward of obtaining education he decided to develope the Tuskegee Institution to help further educate his peoples. As well he established a bond between, not only blacks and whites, but southerners and northerners (during post-civil war times). He talks on how as people, one should educate themselves not only in books but in labor as well. In doing so, one will achieve full-on success.
"Up from Slavery" enlightened me so much more on Washington and his role in shaping the free life we as americans, live today. I have gained an enormous amount of respect for this intriguingly compelling man. I really do feel a great sensation of pride in our history when I think about Washington and his achievements for this nation. Beautiful.
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47 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Booker T. Lost, But Who Won? 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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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
Everyone should read "Up From Slavery" by Booker T. Washington. Washington was one of the most outstanding people in our history. If he lived today he probably would become President and be one of our greatest Presidents. He had an iron will to achieve his goals in life and to do something to help his people. He started in life in slavery, born to a single mother. Later on he was abused and exploted by his step-father. He overcame tremendous hardships to get an education. He then dedicated his life to helping other African-Americans to improve their lives. He is often criticized for compromising too much with the white establishment. I think however that people need to understand the difficulties of his time and also his way of trying to change people indirectly rather than through direct confrontation. "Up From Slavery" is a great example of this. It is also fun to read. I have a personal reason for liking Washington. In World War II my father was in the Air Corps. For some time the bomber he flew in was protected by the famous Tuskeegee Airmen who were trained at Tuskeegee Institute, founded by Washington. The Tuskeegee Airmen never lost a plane that they escorted. So you see, if it hadn't been for Booker T. Washington I might not be here.
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