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​Booker T. Washington’s Vocation



Washington wanted to build the Black community with business, vocational and liberal arts training.

Booker T. Washington (1856-1915) was born enslaved in Virginia. Once free and of age, he attended Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute, where he received academic and vocational training in blacksmithing, carpentry, and other trades. In 1881​,​ Washington became the first teacher at Tuskegee State Normal School, in Alabama. His vision for the school included both academic and vocational training. Washington insisted on scholarly achievement and encouraged Tuskegee students to build the campus themselves. He transitioned the school into the college known as Tuskegee Institute. Booker T. Washington believed practical vocational training would provide economic independence and promote self-determination.