He recounts his experience meeting Andrew Carnegie, who eventually donates $20,000. He describes Carnegie as distant. During their first meeting, Carnegie shows little interest in either Washington or the school, but when Washington writes to him to appeal on Tuskegee’s behalf, he is surprised and delighted by Carnegie’s willing generosity. In addition to these large donations, Tuskegee also receives small donations from all around the country. At the beginning of the third year of the school, the State Legislature of Alabama votes to increase the annual appropriation to Tuskegee. This and annual donations from the Slater and Peabody Funds ensure that Tuskegee can continue to operate in financial solvency.

Analysis: Chapters IX-XII

These chapters chronicle the growth of Tuskegee and the new obstacles faced, while steadfastly communicating the importance and the success of Washington’s approach to education and race leadership. Washington’s first Christmas in Tuskegee provides a portrait of his race’s immaturity and demonstrates the people’s need for moral guidance, skill-building, and industrial training. The anecdotes about the behaviors and lack of understanding amongst the former slaves about this most sacred holiday depict both the necessity of Washington’s program and the inadequacy of book learning and political agitation. An idea that Washington will dispute again and again in this text is the idea that book learning and political agitation alone will uplift the most vulnerable populations. Washington’s accounts of former slaves and their habits suggest that they need much more than that and that his program can answer those needs. His parable about his subsequent Christmases in Tuskegee and the generosity of Tuskegee students during the holiday demonstrate that his method works and that former slaves are capable of learning and embodying the highest ideals.

Washington also figures his opponents in the parable about the parents’ disapproval of student labor. Washington juxtaposes parents’ resistance to students laboring while they go to school with the success of erecting the first building on Tuskegee’s campus. This juxtaposition allows Washington to rebut his critics without naming them in his text. Washington uses this strategy throughout Up From Slavery, relying on anecdote and moral parables to communicate his ideals and to provide argument against his detractors. Washington details Tuskegee’s ability to produce its own wagons, bricks, buildings, and furniture and the pride that students take in their work. He also says that these abilities introduce students into the broader world, for their work results in products that the broader community needs and desires. The success of these undertakings provides answer to the parents, who represent those who oppose Washington’s approach to racial uplift. The incredible growth of the school despite the verbal objections to labor further testify to the power and success of Washington’s approach and vision.

As Tuskegee continues to grow and begins to reach further beyond its own walls and community for support, Washington emphasizes the school as a thoroughly American institution. Washington includes his interactions with famous American men to elevate Tuskegee to the national stage as an important experiment in education and to show the dignity of his efforts for racial uplift. It also allows Washington to emphasize the lack of racial prejudice he experiences and to demonstrate the possibility of cooperation across color lines. All this Washington accomplishes without political agitation. General Armstrong also acts as an important symbol in the text. His high-mindedness and generosity showcase the best of the American spirit that will eventually result in the uplifting of the black race and the nation. Importantly, Washington encounters this spirit again and again in the white people with whom he comes into contact. The white people of Tuskegee and Alabama both support and contribute to the institution in astonishing ways free of racial prejudice. Washington’s anecdote about his experience on a train back to Alabama where he dines in a car with two white women depicts not only the degree of respect that Washington himself is able to command, but also, the degree of respect that the white race is willing to grant, even in the face of social custom, to black people who strive to make themselves useful.

This belief is best depicted in the story of Tuskegee’s first attempts at brickmaking. Washington devotes an entire chapter to chronicling their difficulties and failures. Nevertheless, though three kilns fail before they achieve success, Washington describes how the undertaking has blossomed to produce both a steady supply of bricks and a reliable program for industrial training. The steady supply of bricks to both Tuskegee and the broader community allows Washington to demonstrate his point about making oneself useful to combat inequality and prejudice. Washington describes how the quality of Tuskegee bricks drew people to the school who might not otherwise sympathize or associate with black people. The ability to provide a needed service and to intermingle business interests leads to cooperation between the races. This story also demonstrates the power of hard work and continued effort. Along with brick-making, Washington describes Tuskegee’s first forays into erecting buildings, making furniture, and producing furniture. Though their efforts are at first elementary and wanting, continued effort and practice results in each of these ventures providing a means of regular revenue and industrial training for Tuskegee students.