Booker T. Washington
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Booker Taliaferro Washington (abt. 1856 - 1915)

Booker Taliaferro (Booker T.) [uncertain] Washington
Born about in Hales Ford, Franklin, Virginia, United Statesmap
Ancestors ancestors
Son of [father unknown] and
Husband of — married 1882 [location unknown]
Husband of — married 11 Aug 1886 in Athens County, Ohiomap
Husband of — married 12 Oct 1892 in Macon, Alabama, United Statesmap
Descendants descendants
Died at about age 59 in Tuskegee, Macon County, Alabama, United Statesmap
Profile last modified | Created 27 Oct 2009
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Booker T. was a Freemason.

Booker T. Washington was an American educator, author and orator. He was the founder and president of Tuskegee University. Washington was the foremost educator and leader in the African-American community in his time. [1]

Booker Taliaferro Washington was born into slavery around 5 April 1856 on the Burroughs tobacco farm in Franklin County, Virginia.[2] It was a small farm, but he always referred to as a plantation. His mother was Jane, who was the cook for the plantation. Booker did not know who his father was although he heard reports as a boy that his father was a white man who lived on one of the nearby plantations. [3]

After the Civil War ended and all slaves were emancipated, Booker moved to Malden, West Virginia, with his stepfather, Walter Ferguson, mother Nancy, and his two siblings.[4]

Young Booker T. Washington took a job in a salt works that began at 4 a.m. so he could attend school later in the day. Within just a few short years, he was taken in as a houseboy by a wealthy townswoman who wanted him to be educated.

At the age of 16, he walked much of the 500 miles back to Virginia to enroll in a new school, Hampton Institute (now Hampton University, for Black students that allowed students to pay their way by working. Washington worked his way through school, finishing in 1875. Afterwards he taught school back in Malden, and helped send his two brothers to the Hampton Institute. He then attended Wayland Seminary for a year in Washington, DC.[5]

After a few years Booker returned to the Hampton Institute where he taught and ran the night school. [6] In 1881 the principal of the Hampton Institute, General Samuel Armstrong, recommended Booker to become the head of what would become the Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University) in Alabama.[3] The Tuskegee Negro Normal Institute was opened on the 4th of July, 1888. The school was originally just a raggedy old building owned by the local church with minimal funding. Eventually Washington was able to get a loan from the treasurer of the Hampton Institute to purchase an abandoned plantation on the outskirts of Tuskegee. Soon the school owned 540 acres of land and had over 400 students.

Booker was married three times; his wives and their children were:[5][7]

In September 1895, Washington became a national icon when he delivered his speech at the opening of the Cotton States and International Exposition in Atlanta, which was widely reported by the country's newspapers. Washington's conservative views made him popular with white politicians who were keen that he should become the new leader of the African American population. To help him with this, President William McKinley visited the Tuskegee Institute and praised Washington's achievements.

In 1900 Washington helped establish the National Negro Business League. Washington, who served as president, ensured that the organization focused on commercial issues and paid no attention to questions of African American civil rights. To Washington, the opportunity to earn a living and gaining property was more important than the right to vote. Like those who helped fund the Tuskegee Institute, Washington was highly critical of the emerging trade union movement in the United States. In 1901, President Theodore Roosevelt invited Washington to visit him in the White House, which caused some dissatisfaction to southern whites.

Washington contributed frequently to The Colored American. Given his support for the paper, it is quite likely that he knew Mary Church Terrell.

Booker became ill while traveling and entered St. Luke's Hospital, New York City, on November 5th, 1915. He was suffering from arteriosclerosis and was warned that he did not have long to live. He decided to travel to Tuskegee where he died on November 14th at the age of 59.[8] Over 8,000 people attended his funeral held in the Tuskegee Institute Chapel. Booker was buried in Tuskegee University Campus Cemetery, Tuskegee, Macon County, Alabama, United States.[9]


  1. Wikipedia: Booker T. Washington
  2. 1910 Passport Application: "U.S., Passport Applications, 1795-1925"
    National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; NARA Series: Passport Applications, January 2, 1906 - March 31, 1925; Roll #: 119; Volume #: Roll 0119 - Certificates: 36171-37070, 28 Jul 1910-16 Aug 1910; Certificate Number: 36789
    Ancestry Sharing Link - Ancestry Record 1174 #770717 (accessed 20 March 2024)
    Name: Booker T Washington; Age: 53; Birth Date: 1857; Birth Place: Hales, Fard, Virginia [Hales Ford, Franklin County, Virginia, USA]; Residence Place: Tuskegee Institute, Alabama; Passport Issue Date: 9 Aug 1910; Has Photo: No.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Booker T. Washington, 1856-1915 Up from Slavery: An Autobiography., by Booker T Washington, Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday & Co., c1901,Free Electronic Edition
  4. 1870 Census: "United States Census, 1870"
    citing Page: 30; Affiliate Name: The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Affiliate Publication Number: M593; Line: 30; Digital film/folder number: 004268428; FHL microfilm: 000553189; Image number: 404; Packet letter: A; Indexing batch: N01485-4
    FamilySearch Record: MZ4L-31N (accessed 20 March 2024)
    FamilySearch Image: S3HY-DYCX-QN
    Booker Furgersan (14) in Malden, Kanawha, West Virginia, United States. Born in Virginia.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Family History: "Alabama, U.S., Surname Files Expanded, 1702–1981"
    Alabama Department of Archives and History; Montgomery, AL; Alabama Surname Files; Box or Film Number: M87.1866
    Ancestry Sharing Link - Ancestry Record 61266 #478865 (accessed 20 March 2024)
  6. 1880 Census: "1880 United States Federal Census"
    Year: 1880; Census Place: Chesapeake, Elizabeth City, Virginia; Roll: 1363; Page: 21b; Enumeration District: 013
    Ancestry Record 6742 #12060250 (accessed 20 March 2024)
    Booker Washington (24), single, Schoolteacher, head of household in Chesapeake, Elizabeth City, Virginia, USA. Born in Virginia.
  7. 1900 Census: "1900 United States Federal Census"
    Year: 1900; Census Place: Tuskegee, Macon, Alabama; Roll: 27; Page: 1; Enumeration District: 0107
    Ancestry Sharing Link - Ancestry Record 7602 #760812 (accessed 20 March 2024)
    Booker T Washington, married, Principal, head of household in Tuskegee, Macon, Alabama. Born in Virginia, USA.
  8. Death: "Alabama, U.S., Death Index, 1908-1959"
    Original data: State of Alabama. Index of Vital Records for Alabama: Deaths, 1908-1959. Montgomery, AL, USA: State of Alabama Center for Health Statistics, Record Services Division; Volume: 22; Roll: 1
    Ancestry Record 5188 #149161 (accessed 20 March 2024)
    Booker T Washington death 14 Nov 1915 in Macon.
  9. Burial: "U.S., Find a Grave® Index, 1600s-Current"
    Find A Grave: Memorial #1073
    Ancestry Record 60525 #1352995 (accessed 20 March 2024)
    Booker T Washington Sr burial (died on 14 Nov 1915) in Tuskegee University Campus Cemetery, Tuskegee, Macon County, Alabama, United States of America. Born on 5 Apr 1856.
  • "United States Census, 1910," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 18 January 2018), Booker T Washington Jr. in household of Booker T Washington, Precinct 1, Macon, Alabama, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 123, sheet 5B, family 104, NARA microfilm publication T624 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1982), roll 23; FHL microfilm 1,374,036.
  • Denslow, William R., "10,000 Famous Freemasons", 4 vol., Missouri Lodge of Research, Trenton, Missouri, 1957-61.

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He is referenced in the obituary of Judge Albion Winegar Tourgée.

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This week's featured connections are from the War of the Roses: Booker T. is 20 degrees from Margaret England, 18 degrees from Edmund Beaufort, 17 degrees from Margaret Stanley, 19 degrees from John Butler, 19 degrees from Henry VI of England, 18 degrees from Louis XI de France, 19 degrees from Isabel of Clarence, 18 degrees from Edward IV of York, 18 degrees from Thomas Fitzgerald, 18 degrees from Richard III of England, 18 degrees from Henry Stafford and 17 degrees from Perkin Warbeck on our single family tree. Login to see how you relate to 33 million family members.