History.com sums up his achievement as an American Character, "Born a slave on a Virginia farm, Washington (1856-1915) rose to become one of the most influential African-American intellectuals of the late 19th century. In 1881, he founded the Tuskegee Institute, a black school in Alabama devoted to training teachers. Washington was also behind the formation of the National Negro Business League 20 years later, and he served as an adviser to Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft."
PBS says, In September 1895, Washington became a national hero. Invited to speak at the 1895 Cotton States and International Exposition in Atlanta, Washington publicly accepted disfranchisement and social segregation as long as whites would allow black economic progress, educational opportunity, and justice in the courts. "The wisest of my race understand that the agitation of questions of social equality is the extremest folly and that progress in the enjoyment of all the privileges that will come to us must be the result of severe and constant struggle rather than artificial forcing. The opportunity to earn a dollar in a factory just now is worth infinitely more than to spend a dollar in an opera house."
This is the analogy he used in his famous speech, "A ship lost at sea for many days suddenly sighted a friendly vessel. From the mast of the unfortunate vessel was seen a signal: “Water, water. We die of thirst.” The answer from the friendly vessel at once came back: “Cast down your bucket where you are.” A second time, the signal, “Water, send us water!” went up from the distressed vessel. And was answered: “Cast down your bucket where you are.” A third and fourth signal for water was answered: “Cast down your bucket where you are.” The captain of the distressed vessel, at last heeding the injunction, cast down his bucket and it came up full of fresh, sparkling water from the mouth of the Amazon River."
Booker T would have love to visit SANS Rocky Mountain 2017, June 12, Denver, were faculty and students alike are focused on casting down their buckets where they are so the SANS promise, what you learn at Rocky Mountain, can be used the day you get back to work.
Stephen Northcutt is director, Academic Advising at SANS.EDU.