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Really education and work meant emancipation to Booker T. Work for a fair pay made him feel like a man. Education was the key out of slavery and the key to help his people out of slavery. Knowledge is the ultimate power which makes no man a slave. This is why most slave owners did their best to prevent their slaves from learning to read and write. Check out his glee at entering college,
"I was one of the happiest souls on earth. The sweeping of that room was my college examination, and never did any youth pass an examination for entrance into Harvard or Yale that gave him more genuine satisfaction. I have passed several examinations since then, but I have always felt that this was the best one I ever passed."