Utah Lesson Plans
English Language Arts
Material Type:
Upper Elementary, Middle School, High School
EMedia, Gale, Library of Congress, Reading, Research, UOL, UOL3-5, UOL6-8, UOL9-12, Uolela, Uollesson
Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike
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Booker T. Washington

Booker T. Washington


This resource is a Language Arts student activity that utilizes Utah's Online Library resources - specifically, the three Gale databases (Kids InfoBits Grades K-6, Research in Context Grades 6-8, and Reference Collection Grades 9-12), the Library of Congress (located in the section called General Resources), and eMedia - to help students research and read about Booker T. Washington.

About Utah's Online Library

Utah's Online Library provides Utah educators and students free access to high-quality reference collections such as EBSCO, Gale Reference Collection, World Book, eMedia, and LearningExpress Library.

This activity was designed to help educators utilize this amazing resource in their classrooms.

Note: Utah educators and students visiting Utah's Online Library from a school computer should be automatically authenticated. When at home, students must use the home access login which their teacher or school media specialist can provide. Utah educators can use either their my.uen login or the home access login.


Essential Question: What is the legacy of Booker T. Washington? Do you think his legacy is more about compromise or the importance of education?

Booker was born a slave in Virginia about 1856. When he was 9 years old, he and his parents and brother and sister were freed at the end of the Civil War. With his family, Booker walked 200 miles to live in West Virginia.

At the age of 9, Booker started to work in a salt mine in West Virginia. He was soon able to begin to go to a nearby black school. Once at school, Booker was told that he needed to have a last name, and so he chose Washington. During his time in school, he also worked in a coal mine. When he was 16 years old, he was able to attend an institute for African Americans in Virginia. He graduated in 1875 and became a teacher in a black school.

In 1881, he acquired the job of principal of a small school in Alabama. It was a ramshackle building and had about 30 students. Over the years, Booker T. Washington developed this school into the Tuskegee Institute and built new buildings, recruited more students, and began teaching new and varied skills to all the students.

Booker T. Washington became a well-known advocate for African American education and equality. He was also a tireless fund raiser for the Tuskegee Institute, and through his efforts, it became a respected and prominent school.

What was the controversy about Booker T. Washington's speech entitled the "Atlanta Compromise?" Why were there mixed emotions among other prominent African Americans about this speech? How did Booker T. Washington's views in this speech differ from other African American advocates for civil rights and equality?

Through Utah's Online Library, students can find out more about Booker T. Washington and the Tuskegee Institute.

The three Gale databases, Kids InfoBits Grades K-6, Research in Context Grades 6-8, and Reference Collection Grades 9-12 contain magazine and journal articles, images, and book selections that can aid students in their research.

The Library of Congress, located in the section called General Resources in Utah's Online Library contains many historical images of Booker T. Washington and the Tuskegee Institute.

eMedia contains a video entitled A History of Black Achievement in America: 4 - Blacks Enter the Gilded Age which has a section about Booker T. Washington and the Tuskegee Institute.

Curriculum Connections:

Language Arts - 5th Grade
Secondary - Language Arts - 6th Grade
Secondary - Language Arts - 7th Grade
Secondary - Language Arts - 8th Grade
Secondary - Language Arts - 9-10
Secondary - Language Arts - 11-12