1856 - Born a lowly slave;
1915 - Died a great American.
Famous educator, author, lecturer and advocate of the doctrine of interracial cooperation.
Booker T. Washington was born near Hale's Ford, Franklin, County, VA. He spent his early life here in Malden, West Virginia. He was employed in the Ruffner Salt Works and by Mrs. Viola Ruffner whom he gave credit for inspiring him to secure an education.
He graduated from Hampton Institute, Hampton, Virginia in 1875 and returned to Malden where he taught school for two years. Later he became an instructor and assistant to the president of his alma mater.
By his originality, vision and force, he established in 1881, the first vocational school for Negroes in America at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. Through his emphasis on training the hands as much as the mind, he taught the value of vocational education, not only to the Negro youth but to the world.
"He lifted the veil of ignorance from his people and pointed the way to progess through industry and education."