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Booker T. Washington was born into slavery on a Virginia plantation and became one of the nation's leading educators at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. His clear emphasis on the value of character and the training of "head, hand, and heart" seems incredibly current, because people still struggle with the issues he addressed with great insight at the turn of the century.
"I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position one has reached in life," the great educator observed, "as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed." The obstacles facing Washington were enormous throughout his life, and he focused on learning and educating those who would follow him.
Early in life the former slave determined to transform the values, frame the habits, and instill the knowledge that African Americans required to succeed in society. He accomplished much of this with great success at his beloved institute through a clear expression of simple, practical wisdom that still has the empower anyone who embraces it.