The Booker T. Washington National Monument, located in Virginia, is a nod to one of the most influential icons of America born in slavery – Booker T. Washington. The monument honors the birthplace of this notable African American educator, influential statesman, and orator during the nineteenth and twentieth century.
For those who are unaware of Washington, he was born a slave in 1856, in a 207-acre farm of James Burroughs. After the Civil War, he was the first principal of Tuskegee Normal and Industrial School. His past influenced his philosophies as an educator, orator, and advisor. Today, the park includes most of the centuries-old tobacco plantation along with the accurately recreated tobacco farm and farm buildings. The presence of the farm life brings back memories of Civil War Virginia and how life was back then for the slaves and a glimpse of what Washington’s childhood was like.
Washington’s fate was decided when James and Elizabeth Burroughs moved to Franklin County Virginia in 1850 and brought slaves with them to work on the farm, including Jane. Jane gave birth to three of her children while living on the plantation and Washington was one of them.
Booker T. Washington National Monument honors the achievements and accomplishments of this great visionary and a place where historians and visitors alike can contemplate a time in American history that seems simply unpalatable today.