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Seminar paper from the year 2002 in the subject History - America, grade: very good, University of New Orleans (Department of History), course: SE Recent American History, language: English, abstract: In this paper, I want to discuss the life, the ideas and the influence of Booker Taliaferro Washington. Born as a slave, Booker T. Washington rose to become a well known leader of colored people in the United States. Although he always tried to show other black men and women how to improve their lives, his leadership became controversial. Ironically, his critics argued he would keep the colored people down and he would slow down improvements. Washington's most important idea was the 'self-education' and 'self-help', and from the founding of Tuskegee Institute in 1881 to his death in 1915 Booker T. Washington tried to realize this idea and was very influential in doing this. The second very influential black leader of that time was William E. B. Du Bois. His concept of the 'talented-tenth' represented those who thought that Washington placed too much importance on industrial education. To understand Booker T. Washington's ideas and concepts, it is necessary to take a look at his life. Therefore, I want to show the story of Booker T. Washington, his childhood and his raise to a leader of the colored people in the beginning of this paper. Then I want to discuss the Tuskegee institute and Washington's approach to the problems of the African-American population.