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Up from Slavery Paperback – October 15, 2011

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 156 pages
  • Publisher: Tribeca Books (October 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1612931065
  • ISBN-13: 978-1612931067
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #343,282 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"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

About the Author

William Andrews is Joyce and Elizabeth Hall Professor of American Literature at the University of Kansas.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kevin M Quigg VINE VOICE on March 23, 2013
Format: Paperback
Booker T. Washington was a man born into a slave family. He was the product of an African slave and a white man.

After having been freed from his overseers, he talks about working in a salt and coal mine to support his brothers and sisters in West Virginia. He then decided to try for a college education at the Hampton Institute. He graduated and then led efforts to build a similar institute in Tuskegee, Alabama.

His efforts to start an black educational school in the deep South during the height of the terror campaign must have been quite an effort. He obviously faced many racial and financial challenges when he started this school. His efforts were successful, as he established his school, became a successor to Frederick Douglas, and became someone who Presidents talked to.

Although Booker Washington faced many racial challenges from both the white establishment and criticism for subservient behavior to the establishment, he managed to change the lot of blacks in the Deep South. He instilled a spirit of service to labor and education which improved the lot of people in the south. For this he should be commended and praised. He was an American hero.
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By joey on June 18, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
every American 'negro' should be required to read this book.

what a different America we would have if it were required reading for everyone!
out of nothing and no way, booker t Washington shows you that oppression is no match for the power of the human spirit.

Booker T. Washington's philosophies still apply today. consider those who continuously remind people of their oppressors and the wrongs of the past. btw teaches that those people are motivated by their own gain - from those who believe their philosophies. the truth is that you must move on in life. white, black, red, yellow, whatever, we all have the same struggle in life. some less, some more.

it is your choice to dwell on the bad and the past or move forward.
what you focus on is your reality.

btw taught this over 100 years ago.
it is still true today.

hope this helps.
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Format: Paperback
The book is old and the man is from his time. We are attracted to him because Marcus Garvey made him his star, though he could never meet him. He might have been surprised if Booker T. Washington had explained some of his ideas that would have made Marcus Garvey go awry due to his own convictions.


This book is first of all a testimony about the period starting in something like 1855 and ending in 2001. It covers the last five or six years of slavery, the Civil War, Reconstruction and then the beginning of segregation accompanied by Jim-Crowism, the Ku Klux Klan, systematic lynchings and the first racial riots mostly caused by the decision of Southern whites to disfranchise the Blacks, i.e. cross them off the voting lists, making them citizens without the right to vote. This period is fascinating since it is the transition from open slavery to vicious domination and systematic segregation, a situation that was called apartheid in South Africa one century or so later. The motto of this white domination is simple: "Equal but separate" which will be deemed in the 1950s by the US Supreme Court as separate for sure and therefore unequal.

Booker T. Washington was born from a black mother and a white man whose identity he does not know, except that he was from another plantation than his mother's. In other words she was purely raped by some white man who happened to come across her one day. Maybe even more than one man. Booker T. Washington's account of this fact is extremely tactful if not "prudent":

"Of my father I know even less than of my mother. I do not even know his name. I have heard reports to the effect that he was a white man who lived on one of the near-by plantations.
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