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A collection of thoughts and quotations by Booker T. Washington on success, education, class, slavery, freedom and relations.

47 Great Quotes By Booker T. Washington That Will Mould Your Personality

Quick Facts

Also Listed In

Born On
05 April 1856 AD

Died On
14 November 1915 AD

Born In
Hale's Ford, Virginia, U.S.

Died At Age
59

Booker T. Washington was an African-American leader who is remembered for tirelessly working for the betterment of his people. From a little black boy, born as a slave, at a tobacco plantation, he went on to become the advisor of three American Presidents. Washington is also acclaimed as an author, orator and educator. The ‘Tuskegee University’ in Alabama stands as a living example to his accomplishments. His 1895 speech ‘Atlanta Compromise” made him a national figure. Since he predominantly trained blacks on vocational subjects to earn a living, people observed that he advocated the blacks as slaves to the whites. His sayings and thoughts will inspire you to leave behind the negative and chase the positive. His words and speeches, which are frequently quoted, will provide you food for thought. Though his journey was not easy, he accomplished it with sincere dedication, determination and hard work; his quotes motivate us to do the same!

In all my teaching I have watched carefully the influence of the tooth-brush, and I am convinced that there are few single agencies of civilization that are more far-reaching.

- Up from Slavery, Booker T. Washington

I learned the lesson that great men cultivate love, and that only little men cherish a spirit of hatred.

- Up from Slavery, Booker T. Washington

I pity from the bottom of my heart any individual who is so unfortunate as to get into the habit of holding race prejudice.

- Up from Slavery: an autobiography, Booker T. Washington

One of the highest and surest signs of civilization is that a people have learned to obey the commands of those who are placed over them.

- Character Building, Booker T. Washington

In a word, the Negro youth starts out with the presumption against him.

- Up from Slavery - An Autobiography, Booker T. Washington

Education is not a thing apart from life—not a "system," nor a philosophy; it is direct teaching how to live and how to work.

- Up from Slavery: an autobiography, Booker T. Washington

One man cannot hold another man down in the ditch without remaining down in the ditch with him.

- Booker T. Washington

Associate yourself with people of good quality, for it is better to be alone than in bad company.

- Booker T. Washington

I will permit no man to narrow & degrade my sould by making me hate him.

- Booker T. Washington

A race, like an individual, lifts itself up by lifting others up.

- Booker T. Washington

That my mother had strength of character enough not to be led into the temptation of seeming to be that which she was not—of

- Up from Slavery: an autobiography, Booker T. Washington

Kada smo u kontaktu sa drugim čovekom, mi mu ili pomažemo ili smetamo. Nema trećeg: ili ga vučemo na dole, ili ga izvlačimo na površinu.

- Booker T. Washington

Success is not to be measured so much by the status one has attained in life but rather by the obstacles one has overcome while trying to succeed.

- Booker T. Washington

Before the end of the year, I think I began learning that those who are happiest are those who do the most for others.

- Up from Slavery: an autobiography, Booker T. Washington

The great human law that in the end recognizes and rewards merit is everlasting and universal.

- Up from Slavery: an autobiography, Booker T. Washington

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.

- Booker T. Washington

I had the feeling that to get into a schoolhouse and study in this way would be about the same as getting into paradise.

- Up from Slavery, Booker T. Washington

In all things social we can be as seperate as the fingers, yet one as the hand in all things essential to mutual progress.

- Booker T. Washington

I began learning long ago that those who are happiest are those who do the most for others.

- Booker T. Washington

Success is not to be measured by the position someone has reached in life, but the obstacles he has overcome while trying to succeed.

- Booker T. Washington

I shall never permit myself to stoop so low as to hate any man.

- Booker T. Washington

It means a great deal, I think, to start off on a foundation which one has made for oneself.

- Up from Slavery, Booker T. Washington

Nothing ever comes to me, that is worth having, except as the result of hard work.

- Booker T. Washington

You measure the size of the accomplishment by the obstacles you have to overcome to reach your goals.

- Booker T. Washington

I would permit no man, no matter what his color might be, to narrow and degrade my soul by making me hate him.

- Up from Slavery, Booker T. Washington

Great men cultivate love and only little men cherish a spirit of hatred; assistance given to the weak makes the one who gives it strong; oppression of the unfortunate makes one weak.

- Up from Slavery, Booker T. Washington

Character is power.

- Booker T. Washington

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.

- Up From Slavery: An Autobiography, Booker T. Washington

Success is not measured by the position one has reached in life, rather by the obstacles one overcomes while trying to succeed

- Booker T. Washington

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.

- Up from Slavery, Booker T. Washington

If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else.

- Booker T. Washington

The world cares little about what a man knows;it cares more about what a man is able to do.

- Booker T. Washington

Success always leaves footprints.

- Booker T. Washington

The happiest people are those who do the most for others. The most miserable are those who do the least.

- Up from Slavery, Booker T. Washington

Egotism is the anesthetic that dulls the pain of stupidity

- Booker T. Washington

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.

- Booker T. Washington

No race can prosper till it learns that there is as much dignity in tilling a field as in writing a poem.

- Booker T. Washington

There are two ways of exerting one's strength; one is pushing down, the other is pulling up.

- Booker T. Washington

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.

- Up from Slavery, Booker T. Washington

Excellence is to do a common thing in an uncommon way.

- Booker T. Washington

We all should rise, above the clouds of ignorance, narrowness, and selfishness.

- The Story of My Life and Work, Booker T. Washington

Character, not circumstance, makes the person.

- Booker T. Washington

Associate yourself with people of good quality, for it is better to be alone than to be in bad company

- Booker T. Washington

You can't hold a man down without staying down with him.

- Booker T. Washington

Those who are happiest are those who do the most for others.

- Up from Slavery, Booker T. Washington

I will permit no man to narrow and degrade my soul by making me hate him.

- Booker T. Washington

I have learned that 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 while trying to succeed.

- Up From Slavery: An Autobiography, Booker T. Washington