Sunday, January 11, 2015

An Antidote For Racism

I just finished reading "Up From Slavery" by Booker T. Washington, published in 1901.  I think every American regardless of race should read this book.  Why?

"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."

If any American thinks they didn't get a fair start or think they deserve more, compare your life to Booker T. Washington's life.  Born a slave in the humblest of circumstances.  He didn't know his father (believed to be a white man from a neighboring plantation).  He lived in a primitive shack with little protection from the elements and a dirt floor,  They ate the coarsest of foods cooked over an open fire.  He sees some girls eating ginger cakes and that would be his highest ambition, to eat ginger cakes.

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

If any American thinks they are entitled, compare Booker's journey from Slavery to visiting the White House.  After freedom comes to the slaves, he struggled to survive.  He works in the mines with his stepfather, and learns to read the number "8".  His ambition to learn ends up taking him to Hampton University and he ends up running the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama.

"Every persecuted individual and race should get much consolation out of the great human law, which is universal and eternal, that merit, no matter under what skin found, is in the long run, recognized and rewarded."

If any American is blinded by race, they should instead focus on merit.

"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."

Every American should strive to know great men and women (by reading their biographies) and more importantly, strive to be great men and women.

"At that institution I got my first taste of what it meant to live a life of unselfishness, my first knowledge of the fact that the happiest individuals are those who do the most to make others useful and happy."

If any American wants to be happy, well...

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