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date: 11 July 2020

Washington, Booker T. locked

(5 Apr. 1856?–14 Nov. 1915),
  • William F. Mugleston

Extract

educator and race leader, was born on the plantation of James Burroughs, near Hale's Ford in Franklin County, Virginia, the son of an unknown white father and Jane, a slave cook owned by Burroughs. Washington was never certain of the date of his birth and showed little interest in who his father might have been. His mother gave him his first and middle names, Booker Taliaferro; he took his last name in 1870 from his stepfather, Washington Ferguson, a slave whom his mother had married. In his autobiography Up from Slavery (1901), he recalled the poverty of his early years as a slave on Burroughs's plantation, but because emancipation came when he was around nine, he was spared the harsher experiences of the slave system. In 1865 at the end of the Civil War his mother moved him his half sister ...

A version of this article originally appeared in African American National Biography.

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