Week 12 Monday Motivation

Piute County School District,

Last Wednesday I was able to ride the bus to state Cross Country. Parents driving up separately were consistently texting the athletes and sharing locations. There are many technologies today that allow a parent to know where their student is at all times. It was not long ago that parents did not have such luxuries and they had to have faith that when they sent their children out in the morning that they would return home safely.

In 1872 a mother gave all the advice and love she could to her 16 year old son and then sent him on a 500 mile walk to school. In those days people frequently left home not knowing what day or, in some cases, what year they would be able to return. The Civil War was recent history and a freed slave walking alone still had many dangers to consider. The son with the mother had been freed from slavery at the end of the war. At 9 years old the son had started working early morning in the local salt works in West Virginia and then attended what school he could after work. He also worked a second job at a coal mine. At 16 he was traveling to the Hampton Institute to further his education. 

His name was Booker T. Washington. He did so well in school he was invited back as a teacher and then encouraged to get more education. He so impressed those he worked with as a teacher that he was invited to be the principal of a new school in Tuskegee, Alabama. His success continued with the publication of several books and invitations to speak at events around the country. He was the first African American to be invited to the White House. He was an advisor to president Theodore Roosevelt and President William Taft.

Washington became a well-known name in the fight for rights for African Americans. His tactics and speeches were much different than other activists of the day. Washington believed that industrial education and hard work were the pathway to the desired rights. He quoted Frederick Douglass saying, “Without industrial development there can be no wealth; without wealth there can be no leisure; without leisure no opportunity for thoughtful reflection and the cultivation of the higher arts.” Washington wanted African Americans to become prosperous in agriculture, education, and business first. He advocated for staying in rural communities and studying the most practical subjects. He wanted the schools brought “more closely to the soil.”

He lamented education that was not directly valuable in life. He said, “Some years ago, when we decided to make tailoring a part of our training at the Tuskegee Institute, I was amazed to find that it was almost impossible to find in the whole country an educated colored man who could teach the making of clothing. We could find numbers of them who could teach astronomy, theology, Latin or grammar, but almost none who could instruct in the making of clothing, something that has to be used by every one of us every day in the year.”

Booker T. Washington’s writings about industrial education could still be applicable in many ways today for students of all races and backgrounds. We want students that can speak eloquently and that are well-rounded in a variety of subjects, but we also want to make sure they have the basic skills and knowledge to thrive in any environment. Thank you for doing well in bringing your materials “to the soil”, by making the content applicable to everyday life. 

Have the best week 12,


My brief quotes of his speeches do not do his words due justice. One of his full speeches on industrial education can be found here...https://teachingamericanhistory.org/document/industrial-education-for-the-negro/


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Piute County School District
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Junction, Utah 84740-0069
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