© Author Adventures

Booker T. Washington, Child of Charleston

Booker T. Washington (1856-1915) wrote the inspirational Up From Slavery, and became an influential educator and advisor to United States presidents, but he also was sometimes at the center of controversy. Scholar and author W.E.B. DuBois thought Washington was too accommodating to injustice. Read about both gentlemen and their views to better understand the conflict between them. (See the W.E.B. DuBois page under Massachusetts; Booker T. Washington also has a page under Virginia.)

The Writer as Influencer

According to the West Virginia Tourism Office website, “A forceful speaker, Washington became skilled in politics. Powerful and influential in both white and black communities, Washington was a confidential advisor to U.S. presidents. For years, presidential political appointments of African Americans were cleared through Washington. A man who overcame near-impossible odds himself, Booker T. Washington is best remembered for helping black Americans rise up from the economic slavery that held them down for so long after they were legally free citizens.”

The Cabin

The Booker T. Washington Boyhood Cabin in the Charleston, West Virginia, area is a replica built to match a photograph of the author’s home. The address is 4104 Malden Drive in Malden. Read about it here: https://wvtourism.com/company/booker-t-washington-boyhood-cabin.

Today, Charleston’s population is significantly more than the few thousand residents living there when Washington was a boy.

Up From Slavery

Up From Slavery is the remarkable story of Booker T. Washington’s journey from illiteracy and poverty to African-American leadership and a prestigious college presidency. Written in his own hand, the words flow smoothly from episode to episode, making the story easy to read quickly. We highly recommend it to students of US history, especially grades 8 and up. When you read it, you will discover why the number “18” meant so much to him.

The Booker T. Washington Boyhood Cabin is the seventh stop on our West Virginia Author Adventures Trail.

Patricia Smart