This week I conclude the reading of Booker T. Washington’s autobiography. His life was a true, as my teacher said, ‘rags to riches’ story – though it was more of a ‘rags to success’ book. I rather enjoyed it and the process he went through to get to where he was. The question presented today is ‘is Washington’s view of the future my view?’ Now, this question is one I can answer only by first explaining what his view was.

If you have read this book, you would know that he began life as an slave boy living in a dirty cabin with a hunger to learn. Later in life, he began a school, or institute, literally from scratch. Over years of work, it grew exponentially, and he himself began a career of speaking about his school and his race’s social acceptance. His view was that if they pursued their calling and did the work in an above average way, therefore making themselves indispensable, then white people would, in fact, accept them into society. There would be no logical reason why you would want to get rid of people like that. That was what he wanted for the future of his race. Maybe he would never see it I his life time, but he believed it could happen.

Now to answer the question, I don’t know if it is particularly asking about the future of black people, but I can answer it well if that is not the case. If regarding the future of people in general, then I would answer a resounding yes; I would in fact say I agree with his view. Because, sadly, a lot of people today are either incapable of or unwilling to perform at that level of work. With that being said, I will state that there are some who have done this and been ‘well off’, but the numbers are small. If more people were to work harder and make themselves an important asset, then everyone would want those people.

Washington’s message, put plainly, is to make yourself irreplaceable. He was a great representative of his race, and wanted the best for them. As I have stated, this does not only apply to black people, but to everyone on this planet. Anyone who achieves this will find themselves in a better position in life. You can have a brighter future by working to the best of your abilities. I fully believe it is possible, and so did Washington. Maybe I won’t see it happen in my life time either, but if given enough time, and if people set their minds to it, it is inevitable.


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