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The Life and Legacy of Booker T. Washington

Recorded on April 5, 2005

Location: The Heritage Foundation's Lehrman Auditorium

On April 5, Booker T. Washington was born into slavery on a 207-acre tobacco farm in Franklin County, Virginia, near Roanoke. He believed the year to be 1856, but was never entirely certain. After sojourns in West Virginia and at the Hampton Institute in Virginia's Tidewater region, he arrived at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. Named Tuskegee's President in 1881, Washington made it one of the leading facilities for black education in the United States. By the 1890s, he was the most prominent African-American in the country, and a number of Presidents, as well as business leaders, relied on him as an advisor. Washington's autobiography, Up From Slavery, published in 1901, followed the American tradition of the self-made man's account of his success. He died in 1915.

Few Americans today appreciate - and fewer still are knowledgeable of - the true legacy of Booker T. Washington. On the anniversary of this distinguished American's birth, we are privileged to host his great-granddaughter, Gloria Jackson, who will provide her unique perspective on the message of personal responsibility, values and character that he held so dear.