Born a slave on a small farm Booker T. Washington rose to be the most famous black man in America between 1895 and 1915.
He was also considered the most influential black educator of the late 19th and early 20th centuries insofar as he controlled the flow of funds to black schools and colleges. His long-term goal was to end the disfranchisement of the African Americans .
“No man, who continues to add something to the material, intellectual and moral well-being of the place in which he lives, is left long without proper reward.”
1. I have begun everything with the idea that I could succeed, and I never had much patience with the multitudes of people who are always ready to explain why one cannot succeed.
2. You measure the size of the accomplishment by the obstacles you have to overcome to reach your goals.
3. Associate yourself with people of good quality, for it is better to be alone than to be in bad company.
4. Character, not circumstance, makes the person.
5. Those who are happiest are those who do the most for others.
6. We all should rise, above the clouds of ignorance, narrowness, and selfishness.
7. The world cares little about what a man knows; it cares more about what a man is able to do.
8. If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else.
9. You can’t hold a man down without staying down with him.
10. Excellence is to do a common thing in an uncommon way.
11. There are two ways of exerting one’s strength; one is pushing down, the other is pulling up.
12. Character is power.
13. I would permit no man, no matter what his colour might be, to narrow and degrade my soul by making me hate him.
14. In order to be successful in any undertaking, I think the main thing is for one to grow to the point where he completely forgets himself; that is, to lose himself in a great cause. In proportion as one loses himself in this way, in the same degree does he get the highest happiness out of his work.
15. No race can prosper till it learns that there is as much dignity in tilling a field as in writing a poem.
16. Egotism is the anesthetic that dulls the pain of stupidity.
17. Success always leaves footprints.
18. The happiest people are those who do the most for others. The most miserable are those who do the least.
19. The older I grow, the more I am convinced that there is no education which one can get from books and costly apparatus that is equal to that which can be gotten from contact with great men and women.
20. Great men cultivate love and only little men cherish a spirit of hatred; assistance given to the weak makes the one who gives it strong; oppression of the unfortunate makes one weak.
Let me know in the comments section which of Booker T. Washington’s quotes is your favourite.