Fun Facts Friday: Booker T. Washington

April 5, 2013

Booker T. Washington (15 April, 1856 – 14 November, 1915) was a prominent author, educator, politician and orator in America during his lifetime. The last to represent African-American leaders born in slavery, he was a dominant figure in the African-American life from 1890 till his death.

Fun Facts Friday: Booker T. Washington

  1. Mr. Washington was the first African-American to be invited to the White House (read Deborah Davis’ fabulous book Guest of Honor: Booker T. Wash­ing­ton, Theodore Roo­sevelt, and the White House Din­ner That Shocked a Nation about the subject).
  2. The T stands for Taliaferro.
  3. Washington never met his father, a white plantation owner.
  4. As a child Washington showed a tremendous interest in education, his parents allowed him to attend a school started by Mr. William Davis. Washington worked in the mines from 4;00 AM to 9:00 AM, went to school, returned to work until the end of the day.
  5. At his job as a bellboy for General Lewis Ruffner he found out that Mrs. Ruffner was a strict woman. Washington ran away to work as a waiter on a steamboat, but soon realized the mistake he made. Mrs. Ruffner accepted him back and helped him out with his schooling for the next four years. In later years Mr. Washington referred to Mrs. Ruffner as his best friend.
  6. When he was 16 Washington walked from Malden, WV to Hampton VA so he could attend college.


  1. At the Hampton Institute Washington worked as a janitor to pay for his school fees.
  2. After graduation Washington went back to the first school he attended and taught night classes for students who worked during the day (believe it or not that was a dramatic change).
  3. Mr. Washington was the first African American to be on a U.S. postage stamp, a U.S. half dollar and the first African-American to receive and honorary degree from Harvard (W.E.B. DuBois was the African-American first to earn a PhD from Harvard).
  4. In 1881 he was named as the first leader of the new Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, a school for colored children.

Zohar – Man of la Book

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