2. “You measure the size of the accomplishment by the obstacles you had to overcome to reach your goals."
by: Booker T. Washington, African-American Educator, Author and American Civil Rights Leader
As one of the earliest African-Americans who rose to fame from out of lowly beginnings, Booker T. Washington dreamed of seeing his race uplifted, recognized and respected.
Mr. Washington, who was the son of a female slave and an unidentified white man, pursued his goals by overcoming one obstacle at a time and with his sight set on achieving his aspirations by stages.
His first goal as a young boy was to learn to read because he knew he could understand life better through the books that the white men read. The proclamation of the Emancipation Act all the more strengthened this conviction.
Mr. Washington’s next goal was to become an educator and impart his knowledge to the next generations of young African-Americans--that they would learn, not only on how to make a living, but also to profit from it. He was relentless in his pursuit of educating his people. Through the help of numerous philanthropists, self-made businessmen and members of wealthy families whom he impressed and befriended, this educator founded numerous schools. Said schools produced teachers who passed on their knowledge to other African-American generations.
The civil rights movement to Mr. Washington was not poised on the principle of violent protests and heated arguments. He was of the belief that by proving one’s worth and showing one’s abilities, black-skinned Americans could disprove the white American’s general opinion of their race. He believed that this would eventually earn them the right to live equally with the latter. Another of his goal-setting quotes states: “We must be sure that we shall make our greatest progress by keeping our feet on the earth, and by remembering that an inch of progress is worth a yard of complaint."
However, not all African-Americans shared Mr. Washington’s philosophy. Other civil rights leaders spurred people to unrest and violent encounters. These dark moments in history made the educator’s dreams for his people's uplift seemingly unattainable.
Yet needless to say more, Mr. Booker T. Washington's goal-setting philosophy progressed as he had hoped for, albeit slow, but transcended beyond his lifetime.