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Monday, September 23, 2019

The Emancipation Proclamation Comes Alive at Booker T. Washington National Monument in Hardy, Virginia

From slave cabin to the "Wizard of Tuskegee," learn about the incredible life of Booker T. Washington at the place of his birth in Hardy, Virginia.


Booker T. Washington famously said: "If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else."




LTD recently posted information about our visit to Poplar Forest, the private retreat of Thomas Jefferson.  Poplar Forest was a large tobacco farm near Lynchburg, Virginia.  However, less than 40 miles away and 37 years after Jefferson died, a small slave boy will be freed from another tobacco farm.  That small boy, Booker T. Washington, would go on to become perhaps the most influential black man in America during the late 1800s. He is often remembered today as being subservient, a sellout even, but most agree that he pursued racial equality with discretion.  However, there is more to his legacy, such as his role as a Presidential advisor, or as the first leader of one of the country's best historically black colleges.  To understand the significance of his achievements, it is important that you see the challenges he overcame and that begins at the place of his birth on a small tobacco plantation in modern-day Hardy, Virginia.  

Enjoy our live visit to the Booker T. Washington National Monument and to support our blog PLEASE subscribe to our YouTube Channel by clicking HERE!  Thank you so much!!




Booker was born into slavery to Jane, an enslaved African-American woman on the plantation of James Burroughs in southwest Virginia, near Hale's Ford in Franklin County. He never knew the day, month, and year of his birth, but the year on his headstone reads 1856.  Explore his birthplace at the Booker T. Washington National Monument where you can experience a working farm that was recreated to educate us about this remarkable man.

First stop by the visitor center, located right off of Virginia Route 122. Step inside to watch an award-winning 12-minute movie, “Measure of a Man," to learn about Washington’s life as an enslaved child. You can also see Dr. Kenneth Morris, a descendant of Booker T. Washington and Frederick Douglass in this film.

Once you finish the movie, view the recently designed interactive exhibits to learn more about life on a mid-19th-century tobacco plantation. Take a walk down on the ¼-mile loop plantation trail through the historic area. Walk into the reconstructed kitchen cabin where Washington spent those first nine years of life until he took his first breath of freedom.




The kitchen cabin where Booker lived with his mother, older brother John, and younger sister Amanda, had a dirt floor, no bed, and no glass in the windows.  Washington wrote in “Up From Slavery” that the cabin had “small holes large enough to let small animals in.” He said that his family never really sat down for a meal. The family got their meals just as “dumb animals” do, a cup of milk here and a piece of bread there.







Stroll through the garden to see an example of a subsistence garden from the 1850s. Wander over to the farm area and visit with three types of rare breeds of farm animals, including Ossabaw Island hogs, Cotswold sheep, and Bourbon Red turkeys. Other animals include horses and ducks.


The Ossabaw Island hog is a breed of pig derived from a population of feral pigs on Ossabaw Island, Georgia


The Bourbon Red is a breed of domestic turkey named for its unique reddish plumage

This is our favorite quote by Booker T. Washington which we have cited in this post.  To continue to be inspired by it, we recommend it for your home or office.  Thank you for supporting us by clicking on the photo to learn more at Amazon!








This area was known for dark tobacco, which was fired in tobacco barns and cured. You can walk into a tobacco barn that is on the National Register of Historic Places. It was originally built around 1896, after Washington resided at Tuskegee, but is the type of tobacco barn from that period. In 1861, 10 slaves were listed as property of the owner when he passed away. They labored in this cash crop. You can usually see a sample of the dark tobacco growing in the park during the summer and into fall.




We always encourage more activity when out touring!  If you are the type of person who likes to spend some time in the walking, take a hike on the park’s 1.5-mile Jack-O-Lantern Branch nature trail. It provides the perfect opportunity to take in some fresh air while viewing a few creeks in the park.


 Visit the National Park Service website to find out all the information you need to visit this site for FREE!  For more information about Booker T. Washington, we recommend listening to his book, "Up From Slavery" offered free on the Apple Podcast store.


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