Page:Boys Life of Booker T. Washington.djvu/20

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BOOKER T. WASHINGTON

there was a large opening in the ground in which sweet potatoes were stored. Sometimes as they put the potatoes in or took them out, Booker got one or two and roasted them. All of the cooking was done over the open fire in this cabin, for they had no stove. It was a very uncomfortable place in which to live.

The boy lived a hard life. He says: "I cannot remember a single instance during my childhood or early boyhood when our entire family sat down to the table together, and God's blessing was asked, and the family ate a meal in a civilized manner. It was a piece of bread here, and a scrap of meat there. It was a cup of milk at one time and some potatoes at another."[1]

One day, when he was about five years old, he saw his young mistress and some visitors out in the yard eating ginger cakes. He said he never saw anything in his life that looked so good to him as those cakes did; and he thought that, if he ever got free, the height of his ambition would be to buy all the ginger cakes he wanted, just like those the young ladies were eating.

He had to sleep on a pallet. He never slept in a bed until after he was set free. The first pair of shoes he ever had was made of leather, but the soles were of wood, and they were very uncomfortable and made a great noise when he walked. He never thought of wearing anything on his head.

  1. "Up from Slavery," by Booker T. Washington, p. 9.