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Booker T. Washington


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Table of Contents

Chapter 1: The Quest for Freedom Chapter 2: The Power of Education Chapter 3: The Tuskegee Idea Chapter 4: The Beginning of an Era Chapter 5: The Modern Moses Chapter 6: Inside the Briar Patch Chapter 7: Two Warring Ideals Chapter 8: Niagra's Mighty Waters

About the Author

Raymond W. Smock is co-editor, with Louis Harlan, of the fourteen-volume Booker T. Washington Papers. From 1983 to 1995 he served as the first official Historian of the U.S. House of Representatives. He is now director of the Robert C. Byrd Center for Legislative Studies at Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.


Ray Smock's short, readable life of Booker T. Washington, the African American leader a century ago, explains that age of white supremacy to the present generation that has just elected a black man President of the United States. One of the great strengths of Smock's biography is its linkage between Washington's life and his times. Smock treats Washington's controversial decisions about challenges to white oppression as deliberate consideration of what was possible in the racial climate at the time. His lively narration is based solidly on twenty years of study as an editor of the fourteen volumes of the Booker T. Washington Papers. -- Louis R. Harlan, winner of the Pulitzer prize for Booker T. Washington: The Wizard of Tuskegee, 1901-1915
Raymond Smock has focused his exceptional knowledge gained from co-editing the Booker T. Washington Papers in this remarkable and concise appraisal of how the Tuskegee Wizard operated in the age of Jim Crow. In this refreshing and insightful book, Smock unravels and clarifies Washington's association with wealthy philanthropists, secret civil rights activities, political influence, and obsession with control. -- Pete Daniel, curator of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, author of Lost Revolutions
This is a wonderful addition to the Library of African American Biography. . . . Mr. Smock's Booker T. Washington satisfies the need for a volume that will be accessible to students, both undergraduate and graduate, and to scholars and the general-reading public who need to 'catch up on the latest' on a most important figure in African-American History. -- John H. Bracey, author of African American Mosaic: A Documentary History from the Slave Trade to the Present
This is a fresh and arresting portrait of one of the most important and least understood figures in American social reform. Smock has spent a lifetime studying Washington and no one understands the man better or has captured his character and cultural impact with greater insight or clarity. The book is a masterwork of concision and compacted power. -- Donald L. Miller, author of City of the Century: The Epic of Chicago and the Making of America
This biography of Washington is a joy to read. Not only because Smock astutely identifies and assesses the sometimes bewildering complexity of Washington's life and career-the many twists, turns, and ambiguities of a complex, driven black leader-but also because Smock does so with uncommon brevity and clarity. All this, along with an obvious, deep understanding and rare feeling for the tragic times in which Washington's turbulent career unfolded. -- Avon Kirkland, filmmaker and author of Up From Slavery: The Triumph and Tragedy of Booker T. Washington
Washington's story is a captivating one, told entertainingly by Smock, and readers will encounter much that resonates with today's topical issues. * Times Literary Supplement *
A powerful survey, this is a fine choice. . . . Highly recommended addition to public and college library biography shelves. * Midwest Book Review *
A brief and readable biography that makes accessible the arguments that have dominated Washington historiograpy. Recommended. General and undergraduate libraries. * CHOICE *
Smock's study is a valuable book that will be a mainstay of libraries and classrooms for years to come. * Journal of Southern History *

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