Character Building by Booker T. Washington (1901)
BEING ADDRESSES DELIVERED
ON SUNDAY EVENINGS TO THE
STUDENTS OF TUSKEGEE INSTITUTE
BOOKER T. WASHINGTON
DOUBLEDAY, PAGE & COMPANY
Copyright, 1902, by
Booker T. Washington
Published June, 1902
Printed by Manhattan Press,
New York, U. S. A.
OFFICERS AND TEACHERS OF
The Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute
WHO HAVE UNSELFISHLY AND LOYALLY
STOOD BY AND SUPPORTED ME
IN MY EFFORTS TO BUILD
Mr. Washington’s habit has for many years been to deliver a practical, straightforward address to the students of Tuskegee Institute on Sunday evening. These addresses have had much to do with the building up of the character of his race, for they are very forcible explanations of character building. The speaker has put into them his whole moral earnestness, his broad common-sense and, in many places, his eloquence. Many of Mr. Washington’s friends have said that some of these addresses are the best of his utterances.
They have an additional interest because they show him at his work and give an inside view of the school.
This volume is made up of selections from these addresses chosen by Mr. Washington himself.
A number of years ago, when the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute was quite small, with only a few dozen students and two or three teachers, I began the practice of giving what were called Sunday Evening Talks to the students and teachers. These addresses were always delivered in a conversational tone and much in the same manner that I would speak to my own children around my fireside. As the institution gradually grew from year to year, friends suggested that these addresses ought to be preserved, and for that reason during the past few years they have been stenographically reported. For the purpose of this book they have been somewhat revised; and I am greatly indebted to my secretary, Mr. Emmett J. Scott, and to Mr. Max Bennett Thrasher, for assisting me in the revision and in putting them into proper shape for publication; and to Mr. T. Thomas Fortune for suggesting that these addresses be published in book form.
In these addresses I have attempted from week to week to speak straight to the hearts of our students and teachers and visitors concerning the problems and questions that confront them in their daily life here in the South. The most encouraging thing in connection with the making of these addresses has been the close attention which the students and teachers and visitors have always paid, and the hearty way in which they have spoken to me of the help that they have received from them.
During the past four years these addresses have been published in the school paper each week. This paper, The Tuskegee Student, has a wide circulation among our graduates and others in the South, so that in talking to our students on Sunday evening I have felt in a degree that I was speaking to a large proportion of the coloured people in the South. If there is anything in these addresses which will be of interest or service to a still wider audience, I shall feel I have been more than repaid for any effort that I have put forth in connection with them.
Booker T. Washington.