“Up from Slavery, autobiography by Booker T. Washington, is a true classic in African-American literature. Washington opens Chapter 1: "A Slave Among Slaves" with his vivid recollections as a Negro child growing up in the South: a slave on a plantation in Virginia, a white father he never knew, illiterate and living in horrid conditions. After the emancipation of slaves, Washington's family moves to West Virginia where he labors at the salt furnace and in the coal mines. In his precious few moments of spare time, he learns to read and gains enough confidence to leave everything behind to journey to the Hampton Institute. Later, because of his success at Hampton, he is given the opportunity to start Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. Tuskegee Institute is successful partly due to Washington's extensive travel to the North to solicit funds for the school. The students at Tuskegee, in addition to the day-to-day traditional class work, are expected to learn an industrious trade and to work at mastering that trade. Based on his own life experience, Washington believes that the most prudent way the Negro race will persevere is through this combination of education, hard work and service to others. He believes that the White race will come to appreciate the Negro race only if the Negro people prove their worth to society. Because of his passive stance, many, such as W.E.B. DuBois, et. al., labeled Washington as "The Great Accomodator." In other words, accommodating those who were the enslavers instead of advocating for the rights of those who were enslaved. You can get a sense of this in Washington's most notable speech, the address to the Atlanta Cotton States and International Exposition of 1895:
"The wisest among my race understand that the agitation of questions of social equality is the extremist folly, and that progress in the enjoyment of all the privileges that will come to us must be the result of severe and constant struggle rather than artificial forcing."
This speech brought national acclaim to Booker T. Washington and, at the time, placed him in the forefront as one of the leading authorities of his race. ”