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Booker T. Washington, in many ways, embodies the spirit of all of Black higher education. He was an educator and statesman, and he is Hampton University's most famous graduate and founder of Tuskegee Institute in 1881 (now known as Tuskegee University).

Booker T. Washington represented the core of the Black quest for education. Stressing the practical, but at no time ignoring the need to educate the whole person, he emphasized education as a tool to move people away from the crippling effects of slavery: the dependency, the social disorganization, the poverty, the ignorance.

Washington's political views were as controversial as his approach to education, but his achievements made him the most powerful Black American who ever lived. And today, the seeds of his unshakable belief in character and subsequently, self-help has blossomed into one of the major forces in American higher education.