Booker T. Washington had an incredible passion for learning. Born a slave, he taught himself to read. When the Civil War ended, Booker finally fulfilled his dream of attending school. After graduation, he was invited to teach in Tuskegee, Alabama. Finding many eager students but no school, Booker set out to build his own schoolbrick by brick. An afterword gives detailed information on how the school was built.
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With Books and Bricks
How Booker T. Washington Built a School
By Suzanne Slade
ALBERT WHITMAN & CompanyCopyright © 2014 Suzanne Slade
All rights reserved.
From sunrise to sunset, young Booker worked hard. He carried water to the fields. He carried corn to the mill. He carried rocks from the yard.
All day long, Booker lugged heavy loads with a heavy heart because he was a slave.
But one day he was told to carry something new-books for his master's daughter. When he arrived at the schoolhouse on top of the hill, Booker stole a long look inside.
He saw strange lines on the blackboard that formed letters. He saw groups of letters that made words. And suddenly, Booker's heavy heart felt a little lighter. He knew there was something special about those letters. He felt magic in those words. Booker wanted to learn to read more than anything. But his dream seemed impossible.
After Booker turned nine, America's battle over slavery was finally over. The Civil War had ended. All slaves were free! Booker didn't feel free. He had to work long hours in a salt mine so his family could survive. All the schools near him were for white students only.
So Booker begged his mother for a book of his own. And somehow, as often happens with mothers, a miracle appeared. Without a penny in her pockets, she got Booker an old Webster's spelling book. He studied those shapes called letters. He learned groups of letters that made words. He taught himself to read! But he wanted to learn more.
Then Booker went to work in a coal mine. While shoveling heavy piles of coal all day, he thought of only one thing—school. One morning whispers echoed through the mine.
"A school for black students ..."
"Somewhere in Virginia ..."
Booker couldn't believe his ears. A school for him!
But Virginia was five hundred miles away. He had no money for a train ticket. No money for books. So Booker kept working and saving and dreaming of school.
Excerpted from With Books and Bricks by Suzanne Slade. Copyright © 2014 Suzanne Slade. Excerpted by permission of ALBERT WHITMAN & Company.
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