Booker T. Washington collection
Booker T. Washington was born a slave on a plantation in Franklin County, Virginia, around 1856. Following the Civil War, he moved to Malden, West Virginia, with his family. He worked in nearby mines and as a household servant while teaching himself to read and attending elementary school. Washington left West Virginia for the Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute in Hampton, Virginia, in 1872. He graduated in 1875, and then returned to Malden to teach, before returning to Hampton to work as the director of its night school. In 1881, Washington became the first principal of the Tuskegee Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama, which he ran for the remainder of his life. Washington was an outspoken advocate of education for African Americans and a controversial political figure in both African American and white communities. He died on November 14, 1915.