Page:Boys Life of Booker T. Washington.djvu/19

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EARLY CHILDHOOD

3

The planters, therefore, bought slaves to raise tobacco, and they sold the tobacco and bought more slaves to raise more tobacco. The planters bought many hundreds of acres of land and many slaves to cultivate them. As you know, the slaves lived in cabins. These cabins were little houses, usually built of logs, and the cracks were daubed with mud. The cabin usually had one door, one window, and a dirt floor only. These cabins were all close together, not very far from the "big house," and were known as the "quarters."

The slaves did all the work on the plantation. Most of them worked in the fields. Some worked about the barn and in the garden. One drove the master's carriage and took care of the horses. Another was the butler in the "big house." Some of the small boys and girls also worked in the "big house," serving their young masters and mistresses. And, of course, one of the negro women was the plantation cook.

On just such a plantation down in Franklin County, Virginia, Booker T. Washington was born. His mother was the cook on the plantation of a Mr. Burroughs who lived near a little crossroads post office, southwest of Lynchburg, called Hales' Ford. There, in a little one-room cabin, Booker was born on April 5, 1856. The cabin had no glass windows. It had only one door, and it had a dirt floor. There were large cracks that let in the cold. In the middle of the floor