Booker T. Washington: The Wizard of Tuskegee 1901-1915

By Louis R. Harlan | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 18
Gonna Lay Down
My Burden

Time and again on these trips in the North he would be carrying some parcel or his travelling bags. When I would volunteer to carry these things for him, he would always decline my invitation. He seemed never to want other people to serve him; rather he wanted to save others any seeming inconvenience. I recall but one exception to this general rule of his. This was what proved to be his last visit to Chicago, in September. . . . I carried his travelling bags, sent his telegrams, answered his phone calls, ordered his carriages, bought his newspapers, and even carried his light fall overcoat.

FRANK P. CHISHOLM, ca. December 1915

WORK was life to Booker T. Washington, and he worked without stint until he could work no longer, three weeks before his death. But there were earlier warning signs and warning voices. He had once collapsed before his thirtieth birthday, in 1885, and had to spend ten days in bed and take a physical training course the next summer at Harvard. But he quickly forgot his lessons of regular rest and exercise. Not even the early deaths of his first two wives deterred him from laboring day and night. Neither did the deaths in middle age of his white father-figures, General Samuel Chapman Armstrong and William H. Baldwin, warn him or stop his obsession with work, for he had never learned to play. He was near collapse in 1899 when

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Booker T. Washington: The Wizard of Tuskegee 1901-1915
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • Contents xv
  • Chapter 1 Partners of Convenience: Washington and Roosevelt 3
  • Chapter 2 Black Intellectuals and the Boston Riot 32
  • Chapter 3 Conference at Carnegie Hall 63
  • Chapter 4 Damming Niagara 84
  • Chapter 5 Family Matters 107
  • Chapter 6 Other People's Money 128
  • Chapter 7 Tuskegee's People 143
  • Chapter 8 Other People's Schools 174
  • Chapter 9 Up from Serfdom 202
  • Chapter 10 a White Man's Country 238
  • Chapter 11 Provincial Man of the World 266
  • Chapter 12 Atlanta and Brownsville 295
  • Chapter 13 Brownsville Ghouls 323
  • Chapter 14 Black Politics in the Taft Era 338
  • Chapter 15 Washington and the Rise of the Naacp 359
  • Chapter 16 Night of Violence 379
  • Chapter 17 Outside Looking In 405
  • Chapter 18 Gonna Lay Down My Burden 438
  • Notes 459
  • Index 529
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