Booker T. Washington



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Character Building

Sunday evening talks to students at the Tuskegee Chapel

Booker T. Washington

New Introduction by William Richard Craft, Historical Researcher

True education is the dissemination of accurate and unbridled information combined with training. Booker t. Washington understood this and preached a type of Black Nationalism, which laid the ideological groundwork for Garvey, Drew Ali and Elijah Muhammad et al. The Negro owns pitifully little of the manufacturing, import/export, communications, wholesale and retail sources from which he purchases his goods and services. Someone else manufactures virtually everything he uses. He does not own the edifices in which he enjoys culture and entertainment or which he socializes. He pays too much attention to social and entertainment rather than economic matters.

Dr. Washington’s habit has been for many years to deliver a practical, straightforward address to the students of Tuskegee Institute each Sunday evening. These addresses have had much to do with the building up of the character of his race and creating that Tuskegee spirit. They are very forcible explanations of character building. He put into his lectures, his whole moral earnestness, and his broad common sense and, in many places, his eloquence. Some of his friends said that these are the best of his utterances. This volume is made up of selections from these addresses chosen by Dr. Washington himself.

These utterances are as fresh today as the day that they were spoken in 1904.

Dr. Washington's habit has for many years been to deliver a, practical, straightforward ad­dress to the students of Tuskegee Institute on Sunday evening. These addresses have had much to do with the building up of the character of his race, for they are very forcible explana­tions of character building. The speaker has put into them his whole moral earnestness, his broad common-sense and, in many places, his eloquence. Many of Mr. Washington's friends have said that some of these addresses are the best of his utterances.
They have an additional interest because they show him at his work and give an inside view of the school.
This volume is made up of selections from these addresses chosen by Mr. Washington himself.

A number of years ago, when the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute was quite small, with only a few dozen students and two or three teachers, I began the practice of giving what were called Sunday Evening Talks to the students and teachers. These addresses were always delivered in a conversational tone and much in the same manner that I would speak to my own children around my fireside. As the institution gradually grew from year to year, friends suggested that these addresses ought to be preserved, and for that reason during the past few years they have been stenographically reported. For the purpose of this book they have been somewhat revised; and I am greatly indebted to my secretary, Mr. Emmett J. Scott, and to Mr. Max Bennett Thrash­er, for assisting me in the revision and in putting them into proper shape for publication; and to Mr. T. Thomas Fortune for suggesting that these addresses be published in book form.

In these addresses I have attempted from week to week to speak straight to the hearts of our students and teachers and visitors concerning the problems and questions that confront them in their daily life here in the South. The most encouraging thing in connection with the making of these addresses has been the close attention which the students and teachers and visitors have always paid, and the hearty way in which they have spoken to me of the help that they have re­ceived from them.
During the past four years these addresses have been published in the school paper each week. This paper, The Tuskegee Student, has a wide circulation among our graduates and others in the South, so that in talking to our students on Sunday evening I have felt in a degree that I was speaking to a large proportion of the coloured people in the South. If there is anything in these addresses which will be of interest or service' to a still wider audience, I shall feel I have been more than repaid for any effort that I have put forth in connection with them.

Illuminating, Riveting, revealing, instructive and offers the best direction for today‚s confused and disillusioned youth. It has applications for White as well as Black Americans!

Contrary to W. E. B. Du Bois‚s twentieth century color line statement; here is what Dr. Washington had to say: "In the sight of God there is no color line, and we want to cultivate a spirit that will make us forget that there is such a line anyway".

"What we should do in all our schools is to turn out fewer job seekers and more job-makers. Any one can seek a job, but it requires a person of rare ability to create a job."

"During the days of slavery, we were shielded from competition. Today, unless we prepare ourselves to compete with the world, we must go to the wall as a race."

"Opportunities never come a second time, nor do they wait for our leisure."

146 pages (illustrations)
ISBN 0-9727549-3-8
Paperback $15.00 –add $2.50 ea book for shipping and handling
February 2005




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