“I knew that the average Indian felt himself above the white man, and, of course, he felt himself far above the Negro, largely on account of the fact of the Negro having submitted to slavery – a thing which the Indian would never do. The Indians, in the Indian Territory, owned a large number of slaves during the days of slavery.” – Booker T. Washington, Up from Slavery (New York: Doubleday, Page and Company, 1901; New York: Dover Thrift Edition, 1995), p. 46.

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“I felt that the Reconstruction policy, so far as it related to my race, was in a large measure on a false foundation, was artificial and forced. In many cases it seemed to me that the ignorance of my race was being used as a tool with which to help white men into office, and that there was an element in the North which wanted to punish the Southern white men by forcing the Negro into positions over the heads of the Southern whites. I felt that the Negro would be the one to suffer for this in the end. Besides, the general political agitation drew the attention of our people away from the more fundamental matters of perfecting themselves in the industries at their doors and in securing property.” – Booker T. Washington, Up from Slavery (New York: Doubleday, Page and Company, 1901; New York: Dover Thrift Edition, 1995), p. 40.

“It could not have been expected that a people who had spent generations in slavery, and before that generations in the darkest heathenism, could at first form any proper conception of what an education meant. In every part of the South, during the Reconstruction period, schools, both day and night, were filled to overflowing with people of all ages and conditions, some being as far along in age as sixty and seventy years. The ambition to secure an education was most praiseworthy and encouraging. The idea, however, was too prevalent that, as soon as one secured a little education, in some unexplainable way he would be free from most of the hardships of the world, and, at any rate, could live without manual labour. There was a further feeling that a knowledge, however little, of the Greek and Latin languages would make one a very superior human being, something bordering almost on the supernatural.” – Booker T. Washington, Up from Slavery (New York: Doubleday, Page and Company, 1901; New York: Dover Thrift Edition, 1995), p. 38.

“During the whole of the Reconstruction period [1867-1878] two ideas were constantly agitating the minds of the coloured people, or, at least, the minds of a large part of the race. One of these was the craze for Greek and Latin learning, and the other was a desire to hold office.” – Booker T. Washington, Up from Slavery (New York: Doubleday, Page and Company, 1901; New York: Dover Thrift Edition, 1995), p. 38.

“Whenever it is written – and I hope it will be – the part that the Yankee teachers played in the education of the Negroes immediately after the war will make one of the most thrilling parts of the history of this country. The time is not far distant when the whole South will appreciate this service in a way that it has not yet been able to do.” – Booker T. Washington, Up from Slavery (New York: Doubleday, Page and Company, 1901; New York: Dover Thrift Edition, 1995), p. 30.

“The older I grow, the more I am convinced that there is no education which one can get from books and costly apparatus that is equal to that which can be gotten from contact with great men and women. Instead of studying books so constantly, how I wish that our schools and colleges might learn to study men and things!” – Booker T. Washington, Up from Slavery (New York: Doubleday, Page and Company, 1901; New York: Dover Thrift Edition, 1995), p. 26.

“I have always been made sad when I have heard members of any race claiming rights and privileges, or certain badges of distinction, on the ground that they were members of this or that race, regardless of their own individual worth or attainments. I have been made to feel sad for such persons because I am conscious of the fact that mere connection with what is known as a superior race will not permanently carry an individual forward unless he has individual worth, and mere connection with what is regarded as an inferior race will not finally hold an individual back if he possesses intrinsic, individual merit. Every persecuted individual and race should get much consolation out of the great human law, which is universal and eternal, that merit, no matter under what skin found, is, in the long run, recognized and rewarded. This I have said here, not to call attention to myself as an individual, but to the race to which I am proud to belong.” – Booker T. Washington, Up from Slavery (New York: Doubleday, Page and Company, 1901; New York: Dover Thrift Edition, 1995), pp. 19-20.

“The influence of ancestry…is important in helping forward any individual or race… The fact that the individual has behind and surrounding him proud family history and connection serves as a stimulus to help him to overcome obstacles when striving for success.” – Booker T. Washington, Up from Slavery (New York: Doubleday, Page and Company, 1901; New York: Dover Thrift Edition, 1995), pp. 17-18.

 

“The world should not pass judgment upon the Negro, and especially the Negro youth, too quickly or too harshly. The Negro boy has obstacles, discouragements, and temptations to battle with that are little known to those not situated as he is. When a white boy undertakes a task, it is taken for granted that he will succeed. On the other hand, people are usually surprised if the Negro boy does not fail. In a word, the Negro youth starts out with the presumption against him.” – Booker T. Washington, Up from Slavery (New York: Doubleday, Page and Company, 1901; New York: Dover Thrift Edition, 1995), p. 17.

“Few people who were not right in the midst of the scenes can form any exact idea of the intense desire which the people of my race showed for an education… [I]t was a whole race trying to go to school. Few were too young, and none were too old, to make the attempt to learn. As fast as any kind of teachers could be secured, not only were day-schools filled, but night-schools as well… Day-school, night-school, Sunday-school, were always crowded, and often many had to be turned away for want of room.” – Booker T. Washington, Up from Slavery (New York: Doubleday, Page and Company, 1901; New York: Dover Thrift Edition, 1995), pp. 14-15.