This is Mr. Washington’s autobiography. The original articles were published in a weekly family periodical published in New York City called The Outlook. Later, due to high demand from readers, Mr. Washington combined all of the articles into a single book as his autobiography, Up from Slavery.
The book describes his experiences born as a slave, and rising through difficulties in the post-civil war era to become one of the most prominent and influential leaders in America. Mr. Washington is credited with the development of the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute in Alabama, and became a central figure in history with the speech he gave in Atlanta in 1895 titled, “The Compromise.”
To me, his brilliance was in recognizing that the success and the wealth of Black Americans depended on completion of vocation schooling where they would learn useful, and marketable skills. Such classes were offered at the Tuskegee Institute. His quote, “No race can prosper till it learns that there is as much dignity in tilling a field as in writing a poem” gives a pure perspective of his vision. Only a genius can be such a visionary. His educational philosophy was to combine academic subjects with learning a trade!
Mr. Washington didn’t seem to have much patience with people who claimed that they couldn’t succeed because of their disadvantages. Washington was a great believer in the power of merit. Consider his quote, “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.”
In his autobiography, he says that no amount of political agitation will elevate any race permanently if it does not first secure a foundation in "property, industry, skill, economy, intelligence, and character.” He lamented that elites in D.C. wanted [black] people to depend on government for every conceivable thing. He instinctually knew that it was all about control.
In my view, he was clearly a socio-political genius. Any nation, any race that desire prosperity, could use his wisdom, especially now.