From Wikipedia: Booker Taliaferro Washington (April 5, 1856 - November 14, 1915) was an African-American educator, author, orator, and political leader. He was the dominant figure in the African-American community in the United States from 1890 to 1915. Representative of the last generation of black American leaders born in slavery, he spoke on behalf of the large majority of blacks who lived in the South but had lost their ability to vote through disfranchisement by southern legislatures. While his opponents called his powerful network of supporters the "Tuskegee Machine," Washington maintained power because of his ability to gain support of numerous groups: influential whites; the black business, educational and religious communities nationwide; financial donations from philanthropists, and his accommodation to the political realities of the age of Jim Crow segregation. ~~~ Washington was born into slavery to Jane, an enslaved woman, and a white father, a nearby planter, in a rural area of the southwestern Virginia Piedmont. After emancipation, his mother moved the family to rejoin her husband in West Virginia; there Washington worked in a variety of manual labor jobs before making his way to Hampton Roads seeking an education. He worked his way through Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute (now Hampton University) and attended college at Wayland Seminary (now Virginia Union University). In 1876, Washington returned to live in Malden, West Virginia, teaching Sunday School at African Zion Baptist Church; he married his first wife, Fannie Smith, at the church in 1881. After returning to Hampton as a teacher, in 1881 he was named as the first leader of the new Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. ~~~ Washington attained national prominence for his Atlanta Address of 1895, which attracted the attention of politicians and the public, making him a popular spokesperson for African-American citizens. He built a nationwide network of supporters in many black communities...
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