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Booker T. Washington is the narrator of the book. In the book, he shares his life story, from his early years in slavery to the height of his career as president of the Tuskegee Institute, renowned orator, and spokesman for the black race. Booker T held education as a way out of slavery and ignorance.
Booker Taliaferro Washington is the central figure and author of Up From Slavery, and the text details his progress from being born as a slave to becoming one of America’s foremost educational thinkers and black conservative political figures. Washington was of mixed racial descent, as his father was a white plantation owner and his mother was a black slave. Washington was born into slavery in Virginia in 1856, but throughout his life he also lived in Malden, West Virginia and eventually Tuskegee, Alabama, where he founded his famous Tuskegee Institute. Washington’s central character trait is his dedication to hard work, which in his words is the sole explanation for his success. He is guided by the belief that honesty, hard labor, and practical education can help anyone find success in America, and he believes that racial progress can only be accomplished through gradual gains in individual communities, not through political activism or federal sanctions.