Frases de Booker T. Washington

Booker T. Washington Foto
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Booker T. Washington

Fecha de nacimiento: 5. Abril 1856
Fecha de muerte: 14. Noviembre 1915

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Booker Taliaferro Washington fue un educador, orador, cohesor y líder de la comunidad negra estadounidense. Fue liberado de la esclavitud en su infancia, y tras desempeñar varios trabajos de poca relevancia en Virginia Occidental se procuró una educación en el Instituto Hampton y en el Seminario Wayland . En 1881, con la recomendación de Samuel C. Sam Armstrong ―fundador del Instituto Hampton― fue designado como el primer líder del reciente Instituto Tuskegee de Alabama, que, por entonces, era una universidad de formación del profesorado para negros.

Washington creía que la educación era la clave para que la comunidad negra ascendiese en la estructura económico-social de los Estados Unidos. Se convirtió en su líder y portavoz a escala nacional. Aunque su estilo de no-confrontación fue criticado por algunos tuvo mucho éxito en sus relaciones con grandes filántropos como Anna T. Jeanes, Henry Huddleston Rogers, Julius Rosenwald y la familia Rockefeller, que patrocinaron con miles de dólares la educación en Hampton y Tuskegee. Financiaron también cientos de escuelas públicas para niños negros en el sur y realizaron donaciones para impulsar el cambio legal sobre segregación y derecho al voto.

Recibió honores de la Universidad de Darmouth y la Universidad Harvard y fue el primer negro invitado con honores a la Casa Blanca. Fue considerado el hombre negro más poderoso de la nación desde 1895 hasta su muerte en 1915, y cientos de escuelas e instituciones locales llevan su nombre.

Frases Booker T. Washington

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„Character, not circumstances, makes the man.“

— Booker T. Washington
[http://web.archive.org/20071031084046/www.historycooperative.org/btw/Vol.4/html/222.html "Democracy and Education"], speech, Institute of Arts and Sciences, Brooklyn NY (30 September 1896)

„Associate yourself with people of good quality, for it is better to be alone than in bad company.“

— Booker T. Washington
"Associate yourself with Men of good Quality if you Esteem your own Reputation; for 'tis better to be alone than in bad Company." This was a French maxim, late 16th century, as quoted by George Washington in his "Rules of Civility and Decent Behaviour in Company and Conversation," Rule # 56 (ca. 1744) [http://gwpapers.virginia.edu/documents/civility/transcript.html]

„You can't hold a man down without staying down with him.“

— Booker T. Washington
As quoted in The Great Quotations (1971) edited by George Seldes, p. 641

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„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.“

— Booker T. Washington, Up From Slavery: An Autobiography
Context: 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. Looked at from this standpoint, I almost reached the conclusion that often the Negro boy's birth and connection with an unpopular race is an advantage, so far as real life is concerned. With few exceptions, the Negro youth must work harder and must perform his tasks even better than a white youth in order to secure recognition. But out of the hard and unusual struggle through which he is compelled to pass, he gets a strength, a confidence, that one misses whose pathway is comparatively smooth by reason of birth and race. Chapter II: Boyhood Days

„Providence so often uses men and institutions to accomplish a purpose.“

— Booker T. Washington
Context: I pity from the bottom of my heart any nation or body of people that is so unfortunate as to get entangled in the net of slavery. I have long since ceased to cherish any spirit of bitterness against the Southern white people on account of the enslavement of my race. No one section of our country was wholly responsible for its introduction, and, besides, it was recognized and protected for years by the General Government. Having once got its tentacles fastened on to the economic and social life of the Republic, it was no easy matter for the country to relieve itself of the institution. Then, when we rid ourselves of prejudice, or racial feeling, and look facts in the face, we must acknowledge that, notwithstanding the cruelty and moral wrong of slavery, the ten million Negroes inhabiting this country, who themselves or whose ancestors went through the school of American slavery, are in a stronger and more hopeful condition, materially, intellectually, morally, and religiously, than is true of an equal number of black people in any other portion of the globe. This is so to such an extend that Negroes in this country, who themselves or whose forefathers went through the school of slavery, are constantly returning to Africa as missionaries to enlighten those who remained in the fatherland. This I say, not to justify slavery — on the other hand, I condemn it as an institution, as we all know that in America it was established for selfish and financial reasons, and not from a missionary motive — but to call attention to a fact, and to show how Providence so often uses men and institutions to accomplish a purpose. Chapter I: A Slave Among Slaves

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„My whole life has largely been one of surprises.“

— Booker T. Washington
Context: My whole life has largely been one of surprises. I believe that any man's life will be filled with constant, unexpected encouragements of this kind if he makes up his mind to do his level best each day of his life — that is, tries to make each day reach as nearly as possible the high-water mark of pure, unselfish, useful living. Chapter XVII: Last Words

„Bad as conditions might have seemed at first, when they saw that actual progress was being made, they would have taken a more hopeful view of the situation.“

— Booker T. Washington
Context: I am afraid that 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. My experience is that people who call themselves "The Intellectuals" understand theories, but they do not understand things. I have long been convinced that, if these men could have gone into the South and taken up and become interested in some practical work which would have brought them in touch with people and things, the whole world would have looked very different to them. Bad as conditions might have seemed at first, when they saw that actual progress was being made, they would have taken a more hopeful view of the situation. Ch. V: The Intellectuals and the Boston Mob

„I pity from the bottom of my heart any nation or body of people that is so unfortunate as to get entangled in the net of slavery.“

— Booker T. Washington
Context: I pity from the bottom of my heart any nation or body of people that is so unfortunate as to get entangled in the net of slavery. I have long since ceased to cherish any spirit of bitterness against the Southern white people on account of the enslavement of my race. No one section of our country was wholly responsible for its introduction, and, besides, it was recognized and protected for years by the General Government. Having once got its tentacles fastened on to the economic and social life of the Republic, it was no easy matter for the country to relieve itself of the institution. Then, when we rid ourselves of prejudice, or racial feeling, and look facts in the face, we must acknowledge that, notwithstanding the cruelty and moral wrong of slavery, the ten million Negroes inhabiting this country, who themselves or whose ancestors went through the school of American slavery, are in a stronger and more hopeful condition, materially, intellectually, morally, and religiously, than is true of an equal number of black people in any other portion of the globe. This is so to such an extend that Negroes in this country, who themselves or whose forefathers went through the school of slavery, are constantly returning to Africa as missionaries to enlighten those who remained in the fatherland. This I say, not to justify slavery — on the other hand, I condemn it as an institution, as we all know that in America it was established for selfish and financial reasons, and not from a missionary motive — but to call attention to a fact, and to show how Providence so often uses men and institutions to accomplish a purpose. Chapter I: A Slave Among Slaves

„The home life of the English seems to me to be about as perfect as anything can be. Everything moves like clockwork.“

— Booker T. Washington
Context: In one thing, at least, I feel sure that the English are ahead of Americans, and that is, they have learned how to get more out of life. The home life of the English seems to me to be about as perfect as anything can be. Everything moves like clockwork. I was impressed, too, with the deference that the servants show to their "masters" and "mistresses" - terms which I suppose would not be tolerated in America. The English servant expects, as a rule, to be nothing but a servant, and so he perfects himself in the art to a degree that no class of servants in America has yet reached. In our country the servant expects to become, in a few years, a "master" himself. Which system is preferable? I will not venture an answer. Chapter XVI: Europe

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