Name of Professor
History and Anthropology
Part One: Up from slavery
The writer of the book "Up from Slavery," Booker Taliaferro Washington was one of the renowned educationists, author, and influential leaders. He was the dominant leader among the African American community in the United States. Likewise, his biography also depicts his life as a person and includes all the struggles of the African Americans who were facing discrimination at that time. From his childhood, he would see all the prejudice and social injustices against African Americans. He wanted to be the voice of his people. He was born into an African American family, who were considered as slaves at that time. He belonged to the last generation of the slave community. Through the autobiography, he covered the all the struggles he faced as a slave. However, the book shows that his role in developing the relations between the black and white communities was remarkable. He worked for economic liberation, and he was committed to bringing equality in society. The consequences of his struggles were seen in the form of socio-economic development of the black community. In his book, Mr. Washington had written about his early life and narrated that how hard it was for the African Americans to get an education when they were deprived of all the fundamental rights. It is very inspiring that the writer did not give up on his education. He continuously made efforts to get an education. It is remarkable that regardless of all the hurdles, Mr. Washington continued his training. He was very extraordinary in his class, and his continuous struggle finally paid him off. However, from a very young age, he would feel the discriminations ad exploitation of his community. He did not step back. Instead, he worked even harder to achieve his dreams.
The struggle was gifted to him from his childhood that continued till adulthood. When Washington got freedom the family of the writer moved to another city where he started doing jobs. Through these jobs, Washington was feeding his family. He was very determined about his education and inspired many people. At that time, there were no Schools for African Americans in the United States and the government was not giving any attention to the education of the black community. Therefore, the African Americans had to pay a fee every month even at Public Schools. Some of the families would hire some volunteer teachers at their homes. Washington found it as an opportunity, and he would join every family for lessons. He was the one who would wait for the teacher to come and struggle to learn whenever he found an opportunity (Washington, n.p). From this motivation, it can be seen that he would not enjoy his childhood like other children. Instead, he was busy changing his fate. In his life, there was no time for play but time to work hard only. Another heart touching experience the author is sharing in his book is that he would feel agony to see white children going to School while he was working at a salt furnace. Instead of getting discouraged, he got the motivation to study at night. Hence, after doing his work, he managed to get lessons at night. He tried to get lessons from all those hurdles. It taught him the value of tolerance and faith, which later on contributed to making his modest personality.
One no can deny that the author had faced so many obstacles in his life and those obstacles could not stop him from achieving his dreams. He had realized his ambitions at a very young age. His story reflects that his life was full of miseries and sad events. He was facing the fragmented family problems, and he did not know his biological father. Washington and his mother were living with his step-father. Instead of parenting Washington, his mother would work at the farm all the time, and she had very little time to attend him. There was not any training or guidance from the author's parents. It shows that the author had learned all the lessons through life experiences. His non-stop commitment to his education soften his master and his family, they permitted him to go to school in the day with the promise that he would compensate by doing early work and return to work after School for few hours. He would change the clock times in order to arrive at school early. However, to avoid any sort of negative comments Booker added a second name "Washington" to his name during the school timings. He never let the fear of racial differentiation to overcome his dreams and ambitions. He had realized very early that these incidences are not going to affect him in any way.
Moreover, from his book, it can be seen that he did not blame his white masters and mistresses for the misery of African Americans. He did not seem like viewing white people as oppressors of the black community, but he was depressed by the unequal education system in the United States. He had dreams of seeing his people getting free from slavery. Regardless of all the incidences and events, Washington had a soft corner for his masters and mistresses. He also informs about other people from his community that they were very loyal to their masters. There was not any hatred for white people. He has quoted so many examples in his book that how slaves tried to help their masters during the Civil war. Instead of spreading any form of hatred, he hoped for the future. He condemned the institution of slavery, but he was also optimistic about the future that it will change one day. Instead, he would see slavery as an opportunity to learn many skills. It shows that Booker was very good at positively analyzing things.
The Reconstruction period after the civil war was a period of evolution and progress for the African Americans. It was unbelievable for them to get freed from slavery and had the opportunity to avail the opportunities like the White People. From Booker's comments, it can be seen that he was happy for opening ways of education for black people. Washington was looking at these opportunities as a way to come out of the misery. He hoped that now African Americans can improve themselves through education. They can get training to develop their technical skills and learn ways to do business. He believed that when people of his community are able to get an education, then they can also achieve equal rights. Therefore, blaming white people for all their sufferings is useless. Instead, they should improve themselves first.
As a young, he would walk miles to his School in order to get a proper education. He had recognized the value of education at a very young age. His continuous struggle paid him off, and he graduated from Hampton with higher marks. He always tried to improve the rations between African Americans and white people. He always encouraged his community that they need economic independence, so they should develop their skills. In order to be productive members of society, they should struggle. By then, they will able to get true equality, and they should demand civil rights then. He emphasized on self-improvement and self-interest first.
Furthermore, the Tuskegee Institute was established by him in 1881. Under his strong leadership, Tuskegee was able to secure a rank among the leading Schools in the Country. He aimed to help African Americans with education. However, he was in front to fight for the rights of his community. At the beginning of the 20th century, African Americans in the United States faced specific challenges of the landscape. There was a significant change after the abolition of slavery as many African Americans were entering schools and colleges in search for better opportunities to continue their studies. Along with other teachers and missionaries, Booker T. Washington tried hard to give a chance to his whole community to learn.
Nevertheless, it is notable to mention that during the era of reconstruction, many of the freedoms gained were started to disappear. African Americans were assured that they were given rights in America, but they were not given the fundamental right to vote. There was segregation in the society due to such incidences. Scholars and different people made efforts to raise voice against the discrimination and oppression of African Americans in American society. Noteworthy among them was Booker T. Washington who made tremendous efforts for African Americans and made a speech in 1895 at the Cotton States and International Exposition in Atlanta. It is notable to mention that Booker T. Washington made his first speech in front of the racially mixed audience in the South to talk about the rights of African Americans. In this speech, Washington suggested that African Americans should make efforts for their rights, but they should not agitate for social and political equality to get involved in the economic development of the New South. He suggested that African Americans must work hard to gain respect and dignity in American society.
Part Two-Beyond one-size-fits-all college dreams
In this article, the authors argue that the majority of students in the United States join Schools or Colleges in order to get highly paid jobs in their future. They think that the bachelor's degree is must to find an excellent earning job. Therefore, the students who are not even ready to study used to get admission. Further, the article informs about the other short courses and certifications which can also lead to a successful career by offering an excellent salary to that skillful personnel (Rosenbaum et al., p. 3). People are just following the crowd, and they are spending much on a college education to get four years' bachelor degree. Instead, they can focus on courses which are short in time-length and offer specific skills. It can be a better option for those who are getting an education for the sake of a degree. Some people are unwillingly going to college due to the fear that if they are not able to complete their Bachelor's degree, then they will not find any employment opportunity. Likewise, this article is trying to guide the students about other opportunities. Somehow, the approach of the researchers is very much similar to Booker T. Washington’s approach toward education. He informed about the importance of education in the 19th century. After the establishment of Tuskegee School, he was focusing on specific skills to help his community to compete economically. After the freedom of slaves, Booker’s main focus was to provide a skillful education or training to the people of his community. At that time, there were limited opportunities and resources for the people. However, the trend has changed for the current world, and there are a lot of fields that emerged in education. People can have a career in any field. But the requirements are same, and a person cannot find a good source of income unless or until he or she does not get a proper education related to the field. Four years' Bachelors' Degree is a good option but if someone lacks resources or interest for education have multiple options ahead of him or her. A good education always pays off unless the person is ready to avail it.
Moreover, this article is sharing some essential points about the current practices of education in the United States. It highlights three points that people are idealizing the bachelor's degree, and it keeps them away from better options like certification in a technical field or any other skillful training. Going to college has become a trend; it is not a source of learning and knowledge anymore. Likewise, Booker's approach towards education is remarkable, and he made black people realize the importance of education. He asked the African Americans to accept the injustices in society for a while and focus on their personal growth. When they are educationally and economically empowered, it will be easier for them to fight for their civil rights like the right to vote.
Furthermore, the article informs about the noncredit courses taught at colleges and considers those as time-consuming. Students take admissions in colleges, and they do not work hard. They just waste time on a track which is not leading them towards their dreams. Leaders like Mr. Washington are examples that when a person is determined he or she finds a way to accomplish the dreams. Therefore, the students of the 21st century also need to put efforts in order to achieve their goals. A Bachelors' degree paper cannot help when an individual lacks the skills and abilities. There are other options for the students to improve their skills; they can opt if they are unable to continue their college education. In short, Booker T. Washington's idea of education is much needed in the current world.
Rosenbaum, James E., Jennifer L. Stephan, and Janet E. Rosenbaum. "Beyond One-Size-Fits-All College Dreams: Alternative Pathways to Desirable Careers." American Educator 34.3 (2010): 2.
Washington, Booker T., and C. T. Loram. Up from slavery: an autobiography. Corner House Publishers, 1971.
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