Despite the success of his industrial training experiments, some parents protest the requirement that students engage in labor while at school. Nevertheless, Washington remains steadfast in his belief that all students at Tuskegee must learn to labor and to find dignity, pleasure, and self-reliance in it. In the summer of 1882, Washington takes a trip North with Miss Davidson to raise more funds for the school. They stop in Northampton, Massachusetts where Washington is surprised to be admitted to a hotel. They are successful in raising money and hold their first chapel service in Porter Hall on Thanksgiving Day of that year. This is a landmark moment for Washington. The school soon grows so large that it is in need of a dining room and a larger boarding department. During this time, despite Washington’s success in raising money for multiple ventures, Tuskegee is still in need of money. Washington describes the first few years as rough. Meals are not held regularly and there is not enough furniture. The furniture that does exist is not well-made, as students had yet to master the art of furniture-making. Nevertheless, this rough start eventually gives way to order and the journey that the students take together to build and better their school guards against any displays of excess pride or snobbery.

Summary: Chapter XI: Making Their Beds Before They Could Lie on Them

Visitors from Hampton come to visit Tuskegee and praise the school’s progress. General Marshall, who lent the school money to secure the old plantation, Miss Mackie, the head teacher who gave Washington the sweeping examination, and General Armstrong, the idolized principal of Hampton, all visit and express their pleasure at the fast progress of Tuskegee. Washington recounts General Armstrong’s visit as especially affecting. Washington is surprised to find that General Armstrong holds no bitterness toward the Southern white man despite having fought against him in the war. This generosity of spirit inspires Washington to strive to manifest sympathy for all men and helps him realize that hatred is a tool of small, weak men. General Armstrong teaches Washington that he should allow no person to degrade his soul by making him hate them. This realization leads Washington to reflect on the issue of the ballot in the South. He says that the action taken to limit black people’s access to the ballot does more injury to the white man than it does to the black. Washington believes the black people’s prohibition from voting is temporary, while the damage that whites invite to their morals is permanent. He also notes that where a white man is willing to commit injustice against a black man, he is also likely to commit injustice against a white man if so compelled.

Students continue to come to Tuskegee in greater numbers and the school must figure out how to feed and house them. The school rents many log cabins nearby, but many of the cabins are in poor condition. The discomfort that students face worries Washington. On many occasions, in the middle of the night, he stops by the students’ cabins to comfort them. Despite their discomfort, Washington describes the students as happy and grateful for the opportunity to gain an education. Washington elaborates further on the kindness and generosity of Tuskegee students and says that it proves wrong the idea that black people could not respond favorably to a black person in authority. He also reflects on the lack of racial prejudice he experiences. The white population of Tuskegee has never said an unkind word to him or treated him poorly. Once, on a train back from Augusta, Georgia, Washington recognizes two white women from Boston whom he knew well. They invited him to dine with them. Washington is at first apprehensive because of the tacit segregation common in the South. The train is otherwise full of Southern white men. Nevertheless, Washington dines in their car with them and then takes leave to go to the smoking-room, where most of the men are seated. Once there, Washington is surprised to receive warm greeting and thanks from many men who are impressed with the work he is doing.

Washington tells Tuskegee students that the institution is theirs and encourages them to come to him with any problems or concerns. He says that the best way to dissolve disputes is through open and honest communication. Next, he describes the first attempts at mattress making at Tuskegee. Because many of the students are poor and the school does not have extra money, the students must make their own mattresses. Most students take two large bags, sew them together, and fill them with pine straw. Despite this and their often poorly made furniture, Washington enforces a standard of absolute cleanliness. This extends to the body, as well. He requires students to bathe and to keep clothing tidy and clean at all times.

Summary: Chapter XII: Raising Money

The inability to house all students comfortably continues to wear on Washington, especially as the school admits more and more women. Because of this, the school decides to build another, bigger building to expand the boarding department. Miss Davidson begins to raise money around Tuskegee from both white and black citizens. The money that she raises from local citizens is not enough to erect a new building. After some time, General Armstrong writes and asks Washington to join him on a tour of the North. He and the General tour with a group of singers to important cities and hold meetings and give speeches. Though General Armstrong and the Hampton Institute cover all the expenses for this tour, General Armstrong tells him that this effort is on behalf of Tuskegee. In this way, General Armstrong introduces Washington to many important people in the North and further solidifies his image in Washington’s mind as the most selfless man in existence. They tour New York, Boston, Washington, Philadelphia, and other large cities.

After this first experience in the North, Washington continues to go by himself for some time. He elaborates his rules for asking for money from philanthropists. He says that the first duty of such work is to make one’s institution and values known. The second is to not worry about the outcomes, no matter what bills or debts pile up. Washington also notes the qualities of accomplished men, with whom he has begun to come into contact: self-possession, patience, and politeness. Washington says that to be successful, a man must entirely forget himself for the sake of a great cause. His happiness will result in proportion to the degree that he accomplishes this. Washington describes the anxiety of having to constantly be away from Tuskegee to raise money for the school. Despite the persistent money troubles in the first few years of the institution, Washington is determined to succeed because he believes that Tuskegee’s failure would have ramifications for the entire race. This drives Washington on through the difficult years of raising funds for the school. Finally, Tuskegee begins to receive many large donations, the largest of which is $50,000. Washington credits this to the hard work and persistence of establishing the school and its reputation. He says that luck is only won through hard work.