Booker T. Washington
A Life in American History
by Mark Christian
September 2021, 274pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-7248-8
$63, £47, 55€, A86
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-7249-5
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Booker T. Washington survived enslavement, dire poverty, and hunger to rise to the heights of the Black elite in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

An illuminating historical biography for students and scholars alike, this book gives readers insight into the life and times of Booker T. Washington.

Booker T. Washington was an integral figure in mid-19th to early-20th century America who successfully transitioned from a life in slavery and poverty to a position among the Black elite. This book highlights Washington’s often overlooked contributions to the African and African American experience, particularly his support of higher education for Black students through fundraising for Fisk and Howard universities, where he served as a trustee. A vocal advocate of vocational and liberal arts alike, Washington eventually founded his own school, the Tuskegee Institute, with a well-rounded curriculum to expand opportunities and encourage free thinking for Black students. While Washington was sometimes viewed as a “great accommodator” by his critics for working alongside wealthy, white elites, he quietly advocated for Black teachers and students as well as for desegregation. This book will offer readers a clearly written, fully realized overview of Booker T. Washington and his legacy.


  • Presents a renewed profile of Booker T. Washington as a man who did all that he could to improve the lives of African Americans through self-determination and institution building
  • Includes 15 images of Washington and his contemporaries to provide visual support for the text
  • Includes 23 sidebars with interesting facts to enhance the main text
  • Includes 8 primary source documents to bring Washington's words to life for readers
Mark Christian, PhD, is professor of Africana studies at the City University of New York. Educated in the United Kingdom and the United States, and a former research fellow at the University of London's Commonwealth Institute, Christian is author of Multiracial Identity: An International Perspective (Palgrave, 2000) and editor of Black Identity in the 20th Century: Expressions of the US and UK African Diaspora (Hansib, 2002) as well as Integrated but Unequal: Black Faculty in Predominately White Space (Africa World Press, 2012). His latest book is The 20th Century Civil Rights Movement: An Africana Studies Perspective (Kendall & Hunt, 2021).


2022 Outstanding Reference Source—Reference and User Services Association [RUSA], January 23, 2022

Black History Lives

This biography series explores the lives of the most iconic figures in African American history, with material that supports the Common Core Standards while highlighting the subject’s significance in our contemporary world. Each volume includes a narrative of the life of each subject, a chapter on the subject’s larger cultural and historical significance, a chronology, a comprehensive bibliography, and sidebars that offer pertinent cultural connections to the worlds of social, political, intellectual, and popular culture. An appendix of primary document excerpts rounds out each volume. Readers of the Black History Lives series will gain a greater understanding of the outside events and influences that shaped each subject’s world, from familial relationships to political and cultural developments.


Series foreword Biographical narrative chapters Why X Matters chapter that explores the subject’s importance within the context of American history Timeline Bibliography Primary Source Documents “Cultural Connections” Sidebars Index
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