by Stephen Mansfield
"The Darkness Fled" is a compelling look at the life of Booker T. Washington and the qualities of leadership that he embodied in his own life and work. More than one-hundred years after Washington's life, his emphasis on the value of character and the training of "head, heart, and hand" seems incredibly relevant. Indeed, to middle-class Afican Amnericans today - nearly two-thirds of the nation's black population - his wisdom is being reclaimed as a proven path of racial advance and prosperity, both individually and as a people.
During his life, Washington was among the most celebrated men in American history. One of the leading educators, authors, and statesmen of his day, he walked side by side with the likes of Frederick Douglass, Mark Twain, H. G. Wells, Theodore Roosevelt, and Andrew Carnegie. The first African American to dine with the president in the White House, he was also the first to have tea with the queen of England, the first to receive honorary degrees from Harvard and Dartmouth, the first to be honored on a postage stamp, the first to be commemorated on a coin, the first to have a naval vessel named for him, and the first to have schools named for him.
More than 30 years ago, Martin Luther King Jr. described Washington's achievements when he said of him, "He lit a torch in Alabama; then darkness fled." That trail which Washington blazed from a childhood of slavery to international renown as an educator was blazed by unfailing dedication and sheer determination. Very early he determined that he would transorm the values, frame the habits, and instill the knowledge that his people required. He accomplished much of this with great success at his beloved Tuskegee Institute through a clear expression of practical wisdom that sill has the abiltiy ot empower all people to be the best that they can be.
Ages 14 and up