Booker T. Washington



Booker T. Washington was born in 1856 as an enslaved person. He worked as a laborer and servant throughout his childhood but managed to attend school, eventually graduating from Hampton Institute. In 1881, Washington was sent to Alabama to create Tuskegee Institute, which he accomplished quite successfully. He promoted the Negro’s education and economic self-determination and served as a successful role model. He was greatly admired by many Negroes. He was advisor to two Presidents. Washington created the National Negro Business Association and wrote many books concerning the education of the Negro. His autobiography, Up from Slavery, depicted an American self-made man.


His accommodationist stance toward social equality with whites, “We can be as separate as the fingers, yet one as the hand in all things essential to mutual progress,” appealed to whites. He was willing to trade political and voting rights for economic independence. In his speech at the 1895 Exposition, he introduced what came to be known as the “Atlanta Compromise.” He encouraged the Negro to accept an unequal position in society while improving one’s self and one’s community. In turn this encouraged white society to embrace the Negro they knew as hardworking and humble. This point of view differed from many other Negro leaders and in part precipitated the Niagara Conference which gave birth to the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People). Unknown to most and despite his public compromise, Washington supported a number of law cases for equal treatment.


Washington was a great historical figure who promoted the ideals of self-determination, self-improvement, and helping one’s own community. “Cast down your buckets where you are” is attributed to Washington, meaning stop being a slave – working for others – and work for your own improvement and that of your own community. Booker T. Washington died on November 1, 1915 and was buried on the Tuskegee campus.   


A portion of Washington’s Atlanta Compromise speech is available on the Internet.


Excerpt from 100 Years In Action – Booker T. Washington Community Service Center, by Virginia Smyly, page 3


You can find out more about Booker T. Washington and his contributions to African Americans and the nation by visiting your local library, Internet (begin with wikipedia) and African American Historical Societies.


The Booker T. Washington Community Service Center founders embodied Washington’s ideals of self-determination and community into the Center’s operations and values as they continue to be today.



The mission of BTWCSC is to empower the lives of our neighbors by offering individuals and families the services and support they need to become self-sufficient.


The Vision of the BTWCSC is to support and maintain a healthy and vibrant community. We do this through services and programs designed to reduce the many social, economic and educational disparities that challenge the youth and families we serve. We embrace people of all cultures by providing educational support, recreation activities, housing, vocational training, foster care advocacy and support, senior clubs, as well as focusing on the guidance and development of our youth and young adults.


All people by treating them fairly and with respect​

Commitment to community

All people by treating them fairly and with respect​

Creative Solutions


Partnerships and collaborations

Outcome-based programs with proven results

And More