Top 50+ Booker T Washington Quotes

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Who is Booker T. Washington

Booker T. Washington was one of the foremost African American leaders of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, founding the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute.

Born into slavery, Booker T. Washington put himself through school and became a teacher after the Civil War. In 1881, he founded the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute in Alabama (now known as Tuskegee University), which grew immensely and focused on training African Americans in agricultural pursuits. A political adviser and writer, Washington clashed with intellectual W.E.B. Du Bois over the best avenues for racial uplift.

Booker T Washington Quotes

1. Nothing ever comes to one, that is worth having, except as a result of hard work.
2. 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.
3. I shall allow no man to belittle my soul by making me hate him
4. If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else.
5. Character is power.
6. Excellence is to do a common thing in an uncommon way.
7. One man cannot hold another man down in the ditch without remaining down in the ditch with him.
8. Character, not circumstances, makes the man.
9. Success in life is founded upon attention to the small things rather than to the large things; to the every day things nearest to us rather than to the things that are remote and uncommon.
10. Those who are happiest are those who do the most for others.
11. You can’t hold a man down without staying down with him.
12. Associate yourself with people of good quality, for it is better to be alone than to be in bad company.
13. We all should rise, above the clouds of ignorance, narrowness, and selfishness.
14. I have begun everything with the idea that I could succeed, and I never had much patience with the multitudes of people who are always ready to explain why one cannot succeed.
15. There are two ways of exerting one’s strength; one is pushing down, the other is pulling up.
16. The older I grow, the more I am convinced that there is no education which one can get from books and costly apparatus that is equal to that which can be gotten from contact with great men and women.
17. No race can prosper till it learns that there is as much dignity in tilling a field as in writing a poem.
18. Egotism is the anesthetic that dulls the pain of stupidity.
19. Men may make laws to hinder and fetter the ballot, but men cannot make laws that will bind or retard the growth of manhood.
20. The world cares very little what you or I know, but it does care a great deal about what you or I do.
21. Of all forms of slavery there is none that is so harmful and degrading as that form of slavery which tempts one human being to hate another by reason of his race or color.
22. In any country, regardless of what its laws say, wherever people act upon the idea that the disadvantage of one man is the good of another, there slavery exists. Wherever, in any country the whole people feel that the happiness of all is dependent upon the happiness of the weakest, there freedom exists.
23. There is no escape — man drags man down, or man lifts man up.
24. 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.
25. Providence so often uses men and institutions to accomplish a purpose.
26. I learned the lesson that great men cultivate love, and that only little men cherish a spirit of hatred. I learned that assistance given to the weak makes the one who gives it strong; and that oppression of the unfortunate makes one weak.
27. Few things can help an individual more than to place responsibility on him, and to let him know that you trust him.
28. We don’t just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary
29. We must reinforce argument with results.
30. The individual who can do something that the world wants done will, in the end, make his way regardless of his race.
31. Too often the educational value of doing well what is done, however little, is overlooked. One thing well done prepares the mind to do the next thing better. Not how much, but how well, should be the motto. One problem thoroughly understood is of more value than a score poorly mastered.
32. No greater injury can be done to any youth than to let him feel that because he belongs to this or that race he will be advanced in life regardless of his own merits or efforts.
33. Cast down your bucket where you are.
34. He who lives outside the law is a slave. The free man is the man who lives within the law, whether that law be the physical or the divine
35. Great men cultivate love… Only little men cherish a spirit of hatred.
36. At the bottom of education, at the bottom of politics, even at the bottom of religion, there must be for our race economic independence
37. There is no power on earth that can neutralize the influence of a high, simple and useful life.
38. A life is not worth much of which it cannot be said, when it comes to its close, that it was helpful to humanity.
39. We should not permit our grievances to overshadow our opportunities.
40. Opportunities never come a second time, nor do they wait for our leisure.
41. A whining crying race may be pitied but seldom respected.
42. To be one with God is to be like God. Our real religious striving then, should be to become one with God; sharing with Him in our poor humble way His qualities and attributes.
43. The happiest people are those who do the most for others. The most miserable are those who do the least.
44. The thing to do when one feels sure that he has said or done the right thing and is condemned, is to stand still and keep quiet. If he is right, time will show it.
45. It is important and right that all privileges of the law be ours, but it is vastly more important that we be prepared for the exercise of those privileges.
46. No man, who continues to add something to the material, intellectual and moral well-being of the place in which he lives, is left long without proper reward.
47. In my contact with people, I find that, as a rule, it is only the little, narrow people who live for themselves, who never read good books, who do not travel, who never open up their souls in a way to permit them to come into contact with other souls – with the great outside world.
48. “It means a great deal, I think, to start off on a foundation which one has made for oneself.”
49. “The great human law that in the end recognizes and rewards merit is everlasting and universal.”
50. “I shall never permit myself to stoop so low as to hate any man.”
51. “Nothing ever comes to me, that is worth having, except as the result of hard work.”
52. “Education is not a thing apart from life—not a “system,” nor a philosophy; it is direct teaching how to live and ow to work.”
53. “I will permit no man to narrow & degrade my sould by making me hate him.”
54. “I began learning long ago that those who are happiest are those who do the most for others.”
55. “My experience has been that the time to test a true gentleman is to observe him when he is in contact with individuals of a race that is less fortunate than his own.”
56. “A race, like an individual, lifts itself up by lifting others up.”
57. “Success is not to be measured by the position someone has reached in life, but the obstacles he has overcome while trying to succeed.”
58. “In the long run, the world is going to have the best, and any difference in race, religion, or previous history will not long keep the world from what it wants.”
59. “In all things social we can be as seperate as the fingers, yet one as the hand in all things essential to mutual progress.”
60. “Instead of studying books so constantly, how I wish that our schools and colleges might learn to study men and things!”

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