Booker T. Washington Inspirational Network

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[Booker T. Washington] was the greatest Negro leader since Frederick Douglass and the most distinguished man, white or black, who has come out of the South since the Civil War. His fame was international and his influence far-reaching. Of the good that he accomplished there can be no doubt; he directed the attention of the Negro race in America to the pressing necessity of economic development; he emphasized technical education and he did much to pave the way for an understanding between the white and darker races.

~ Dr. W.E.B. DuBois.

In His Words

I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life, as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed.

No race can prosper till it learns that there is as much dignity in tilling a field as in writing a poem.

I will allow no man to drag me down so low as to make me hate him. No race can hate another without itself being narrowed and hated. Character, not circumstances, makes the man.

It often requires more courage to suffer in silence than to rebel, more courage not to strike back than to retaliate, more courage to be silent than to speak.

You may fill your heads with knowledge or skillfully train your hands, but unless it is based upon high, upright character, upon a true heart, it will amount to nothing. You will be no better than the most ignorant.

The highest test of the civilization of any race is in its willingness to extend a helping hand to the less fortunate. A, race like an individual, lifts itself up by lifting others up.

There is no permanent safety for any of us or for our institutions except in the enlightenment of the whole people, except in continuing to educate until people everywhere be too big to be little, too broad to be narrow, be too high to stoop to littleness and meanness.

The man who has learned to do something better than anyone else, has learned to do a common thing in an uncommon manner, is the man who has a power and influence that no adverse circumstances can take from him.

When an individual produces what the world wants, whether it is a product of hand, head or heart, the world does not long stop to inquire what is the color of the skin of the producer.

There are certain great natural and economic laws that govern the problems of nations and races. Soil, rain and sunshine draw no color line. The forces of nature will yield their wealth as quickly to the hands of the brown man, the yellow man, as they will to the hands of any other race. Man may discriminate, but the economic laws of trade and commerce cannot discriminate.

He who lives outside the law is a slave. The free man is the man who lives within the law, whether that law be the physical or the divine.

I'm afraid there is a certain class of race problem solvers who don't want the patient to get well, because as long as the disease holds out they have not only an easy means of making a living, but also an easy medium through which to make themselves prominent before the public.

No greater injury can be done to any youth than to let him feel that because he belongs to this or that race he will be advanced in life regardless of his own merits or efforts.

Every race must show to the world by tangible, visible, indisputable evidence that it can do more than merely call attention to the wrong inflicted upon it. The reward of life is for those who choose the good where evil calls out on every hand. That reward is moral character. The more difficult the struggle, the more robust the character.

Let us keep before us the fact that, almost without exception, every race or nation that has ever got upon its feet has done so through struggle and trial and persecution; and that out of this very resistance to wrong, out of the struggle against odds, they have gained strength, self-confidence, and experience which they could not have gained in any other way.

I pity from the bottom of my heart any individual who is so unfortunate as to get into the habit of holding race prejudice, for nothing else makes one so blind and narrow.

In the sight of God there is no color line, and we should cultivate a spirit where we forget that there is a color line anyway.

Ireat men cultivate love …Only little men cherish a spirit of hatred.

The world cares very little about what a man or woman knows; it is what the man or woman is able to do that counts.

Progress must be the result of severe and constant struggle rather than artificial forcing.

It requires little wisdom or statesmanship to repress, to crush out, to retard the hopes and aspirations of a people; but the highest and most profound statesmanship is shown in guiding and stimulating a people so that every fiber in body, mind, and soul shall be made to contribute in the highest degree to the usefulness of the state.

That education, whether of black or white men, that gives one physical courage to stand in front of a canon and fails to give him moral courage to stand up in defense of right and justice, is a failure.

In the final test, the success of our race will be in proportion to the service that it renders to the world. In the long run the badge of service is the badge of sovereignty.

If we imitate the life of Christ as nearly as possible, heaven will come about more and more here on the earth.

One cannot hold another down in the ditch without staying down in the ditch with him - and in helping the man who is down to rise, the man who is up is freeing himself from a burden that would else keep him down.

I believe that every day is a judgment that we reap our rewards daily and that wherever we sin, we are punished by mental and physical anxiety and by a weakened character that separates us from God. Every day is, I take it, a day of judgment, and as we learn God's laws and grow into his likeness we shall find ourselves, in this world, a life of usefulness and honor.

The greatness of a nation in the future will be measured not by the vessels that it floats, but by the number of schools and churches and useful industries that it keeps in existence. It will be measured not by the number of men killed, but by the number of men saved and lifted up.

Too many leaders have devoted themselves to politics little knowing, it seems, that economic independence is the foundation of political independence...we must act in these matters before others from foreign lands rob us of our birthright... Land ownership is the foundation of all wealth.

Iost leaders spend time trying to get others to think highly of them when, instead, they should try to get their people to think more highly of themselves. It's wonderful when the people believe in their leader; it's more wonderful when the leader believes in their people.

We must learn to realize that out of contact with difficulties we get a strength and confidence which we can secure in no other manner. The world needs men, be they black or white, who can rise on successive failures.

Every person who has grown to any degree of usefulness, every person who has grown to distinction, almost without exception has been a person who has risen by overcoming obstacles, by removing difficulties, by resolving that when he met discouragement he would not give up.

We should not permit our grievances to overshadow our opportunities.

Educated men and women, especially those who are in college, very often get the idea that religion is fit only for the common people. No young man or woman can make a greater error than this.

We must not be deceived by the mere fact a person can read or write. Unless he has received that broader training which enables him to know the object of education, the uses of education; unless he receives that broader training which will make him realize that book education is useless without character, without industry, without the saving habit, without the willingness to contribute his part toward law and order and the highest and best in the community, his mere book education will in many cases mean little or nothing.

What we should do in all of our schools is to turn out fewer job seekers and more job makers. Anyone can seek a job, but it requires a person of rare ability to create a job.

No man who continues to add something to the material, intellectual and moral well-being of the place in which he lives is long left without proper award.

We should never forget that the ownership and cultivation of the soil constitutes the foundation of great wealth and usefulness among our people. A land-less race is like a ship without a rudder.

The persons who live constantly in a fault finding atmosphere, who see only the dark side of life, become negative characters. They are the people who never go forward.

When measured by the standard of eternal, or even present justice, that race is greatest that has learned to exhibit the greatest patience, the greatest self-control, the greatest forbearance, the greatest interest in the poor, in the unfortunate - that has been able to live up in a high and pure atmosphere, and to dwell above hatred and acts of cruelty. He who would become greatest among us must become the least.

To be one with God is to be like God. Our religious striving, then, should be to become one with God; sharing with Him in our humble way His qualities and attributes.

A life is not worth much of which it cannot be said, when it comes to its close, that it was helpful to humanity.