• Ex-Slave Booker T. Washington Seeks Funds For Student Tuition At Tuskegee Institute

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    BOOKER T. WASHINGTON (1856-1915) was a former slave who became a leading voice for ex-slaves and their descendants. Washington was an American educator, author, orator and advisor to U.S. presidents from 1890 to 1915.  He was a key proponent of African-American businesses and one of the founders of the National Negro Business league.  His base was the Tuskegee Institute, a historically black college in Tuskegee, AL.  As lynchings in the South reached a peak in 1895, Washington gave a speech, known as the “Atlantic Compromise,” which brought him national fame by calling for progress through education and entrepreneurship. Washington mastered the nuances of political arena, which enabled him to manipulate the media, raise money, develop strategy, network and distribute funds, while punishing those who opposed his plans for uplifting blacks.


    Washington was the Principal of The Tuskegee Normal & Industrial Institute (full title of the Tuskegee Institute). 


    Offering a two-piece lot, a one-page 8 ½ x 11 letter signed by Washington with the text in a another hand and addressed to Mr. Chas. F. Choate of 205 Beacon St., Boston, MA, on May 24, 1907, eight years before Washington’s death.  “I would not disturb you with a letter except for the fact that I am compelled to get outside help to pay the tuition of our students. Our students pay their own board partly in cash and partly in labor but the fifty dollars a year which is the cost of tuition they are wholly unable to meet. As a rule, they are a fine worthy set doing all they can to help themselves and the work they are doing after learning is most satisfactory and encouraging.


    “The enclosed printed slip gives definite information as to our condition.


    “Yours truly,


    “Booker T. Washington




    The printed “slip” referred to by Washington is included, being a 4 pp, 5 ½ x 6 ½ printed report of the school’s trustees soliciting donations, listing the names of the trustees and a breakdown of expenses.


    The letter has expected toning, folds. The report has a fold as well.  Overall excellent condition.

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