Booker T. Washington was born on April 5, 1856, in Hale's Ford, VA. Washington was among the last generation to be born into slavery. His family gained freedom under the Emancipation Proclamation. In 1881, Washington became the first leader of the Tuskegee Institute. Booker T. Washington became an intermediary for funding African American educational programs. He was able to persuade wealthy Whites to fund endeavors to improve conditions for Black Americans.
During his lifetime, Washington published five books with the help of his longtime advisor, Timothy Thomas Fortune. His book entitled "Up from Slavery" became a best seller in 1901.